Update: As of 7th January, over £9,600 had been pledged towards our ultimate goal of £22,000.

This is a fantastic response, so thanks to all those who have donated, and please consider letting friends, family and colleagues know about the fund raiser to give them a chance to join the fight against Sizewell C
www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-coronation-wood/

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27 December 2019

TOGETHER AGAINST SIZEWELL C (TASC) COMMITTEE MEMBER SEEKS A JUDICIAL REVIEW OF EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL’S PLANNING APPROVAL FOR EDF TO FELL CORONATION WOOD FOR SIZEWELL C PURPOSES

On 23rd December TASC member Joan Girling issued proceedings against East Suffolk Council’s decision granting planning permission to EDF for the development of a nuclear power site in Suffolk. This decision allows for the felling of Coronation Wood to accommodate the relocation of Sizewell B facilities. EDF have proposed moving a car park and visitors’ centre from Sizewell B land to EDF-owned Coronation Wood, which they say would create additional space for the Sizewell C development. This is at the cost of destroying the 100 year-old mature wood, which is a treasured landscape feature in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and appreciated by residents and tourists alike.

TASC are fully supportive of this action as it is concerned that a large area of historic woodland, at present a visual landscape barrier to the light and noise from the existing nuclear complex, could needlessly be lost should future plans by EDF relating to the development of Sizewell C fall through. EDF must apply in the future for a Sizewell C Development Consent Order (DCO) and there is a risk that the Secretary of State will not grant Planning Consent. Equally, EDF may decide not to make such an application. The development of Sizewell B is thus ‘jumping the gun’ on an application process for Sizewell C that is yet to even begin.

We have set up a crowd funding page to provide funds to support Joan’s legal challenge against the Council, details of which can be accessed at:
https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-coronation-wood/

The wood, created to celebrate the coronation of George V, is home to many species of wildlife, including badgers, bats and many birds, both native and migratory. Organisations such as RSPB also have concerns that biodiversity surveys, undertaken of species using the wood, are out of date, incomplete or have not been carried out at all. TASC share Joan’s concerns that proper investigations have not been carried out into the potential scale of the environmental damage that could result from the loss of this wood, which is in a sensitive location bordered by a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

TASC Chairman Pete Wilkinson said today,

“Taking this action is right and we fully support it. East Suffolk Council has acted in an ill-considered, cavalier manner, without the necessary facts at their fingertips. The council ignored the 125 letters of objection to this application and have ridden roughshod over the needs and opinions of local people who appreciate the part the wood plays in the AONB and its role as a buffer to the nuclear complex and as a sanctuary for wildlife. Moreover, they have ignored the policy restrictions on the use of an AONB and failed to recognise the limitations of the IROPI initiative. Coronation Wood is an important part of the Leiston and Suffolk environment. If it is to be sacrificed for what we say is an unnecessary nuclear power station, it should at least be granted a proper, legal process. The relocation of Sizewell B facilities to accommodate a future Sizewell C development should form part of the development consent order for the new plant, not as a separate and apparently unconnected issue under the banner of Sizewell B. TASC will do everything in our power to stop Sizewell C.

We have set up a crowd funding page to provide funds to support Joan’s legal challenge against the Council, details of which can be accessed at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-coronation-wood/

Rosa Curling, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, who represents Joan Girling said:

“Wild and green spaces are of importance in the current climate catastrophe and the retention of established woodland must be a priority. The National Planning Policy Framework clearly recognises the importance of our natural spaces, requiring local authorities to refuse any major development in our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty other than in exceptional circumstances. Our client believes the exceptional circumstances have not been met in this case.”

The legal team acting in this matter are Rosa Curling and Erin Alcock of Leigh Day, David Wolfe QC of Matrix Chambers and Ashley Bowes of Cornerstone Barristers.

For further information:

Pete Wilkinson, TASC Chairman – 07940 524831

Joan Girling, TASC Secretary – 01728 830965

Chris Wilson, TASC Press & Legal Liaison – 07976 820524

Notes for Editors:

Coronation Wood lies in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The planning permission sought by EDF was granted by East Suffolk Council (ESC) on the 9th September. The application also allowed for a large area of acidic grassland known as Pillbox Field to be used for a 576 space car park for use by outage workers.

ESC received 125 letters of objections and concern demanding that the application should be refused as EDF has not yet applied for Planning Consent for SZC and neither have they applied for any licences which may be needed.

ESC has signed up to the declaration of Climate Emergency. It is therefore illogical for it now to grant planning permission to remove a 100 year old wood on the assumption that because it is old and mismanaged by the owners, it should be felled, disregarding all the wildlife and ecological attributes it has in the AONB and for which all Owners, Councils and Councillors have a Duty of Regard.

TASC also submits the massive buildings which would replace this sensitive area are not needed for the safe running of SZB or SZC if it is ever built. This pre-emptive Planning Application under the Town and Country Planning Act and ESC’s decision to agree to its Planning Permission is wrong and piecemeal, and should only be considered when EDF submit their DCO application for SZC to the Planning Inspectorate and subsequently to the Secretary of State.

END

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