Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP, Dr Dan Poulter, has today written to the Planning Inspectorate and Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to put firmly on record his concerns about EDFs submission for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for Sizewell C amidst the current Coronavirus restrictions.
Dr Poulter has been contacted by a great many residents, as well as some local councillors, all of whom have raised significant concerns in regards to the application and its timing. During the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, many organisations, including the Planning Inspectorate and County and District Councils, are working with reduced staffing levels and remote working practices. Therefore the timing of the DCO submission will undoubtedly cause added pressure on hardworking local council staff as the application must be considered within the first 28 days. There is also concern around the transparency of the process as opportunities for genuine public consultation are greatly curtailed with public meetings not currently being permitted.
Speaking about the application, Dr Poulter said “It is extremely disappointing that despite my repeated representations, EDF has decided to press ahead in submitting their application for the Development Consent Order in respect of Sizewell C.”
“EDF continue to show a blatant disregard for our communities here in Suffolk and with an application of such magnitude, it is essential that our communities and all relevant stakeholders can have their say as part of a genuine and meaningful consultation.”
“Due to the significance of this application, it is imperative that sufficient time and resource is made available to consider this application fully. Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, it is vital that our hardworking council officers are not distracted from delivering essential frontline services to Suffolk residents and I am in no doubt that the current restrictions would inhibit full and proper consideration of the application.”
“I have therefore called upon the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and the Planning Inspectorate to insist upon due diligence being adhered to in respect of this important application.”
“In the meantime, I will continue to work with colleagues to ensure that if and when Sizewell C does go ahead that Suffolk gets its fair share of infrastructure, and I will do all that I can to help support residents here in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich.”