CLEARING THE WAY
Developers plan 740-acre works to make way for Wylfa Newydd:
AVAST swathe of land, the size of more than 500 football pitches, is to be cleared to make way for the new Wylfa power station, on Anglesey.
Horizon wants to spend 15 months on the project, which will see a 740-acre area prepared ahead of the construction of the nuclear plant.
It will involve clearing field boundaries, demolishing buildings and relocating protected species.
With the timescale for getting the go-ahead for the nuclear plant, known as a Development Consent Order (DCO), likely to take up to 18 months itself, Horizon wants to get on with clearing the site now. It is going before plan- ning chiefs with its proposals next week at a special meeting focusing solely on the Wylfa bid. The council’s committee has been advised to approve the proposals, but there is opposition from local groups who feel no work should happen until and if the DCO is approved by the Planning Inspectorate.
The developers have said they’ll put the site back to how it is now, should the DCO not be granted. The North Anglesey Partnership, consisting of Amlwch, Llaneilian, Llanbadrig, Rhosybol, Mechell and Cylch y Garn community councils, has raised concerns over the timing and lack of information made available by Horizon, stating that with “so many unanswered questions,” no site clearance should take place until full approval is in place.
Llanbadrig community council’s own submission, while backing the nuclear plant in principle, went on to say: “There is still much doubt about whether this project will proceed, particularly in the prevailing environment of uncertainty exacerbated by the era of Trump and Brexit.
“Horizon seem to recognise this uncertainty in their reluctance to proceed with the bypasses ahead of DCO approval. Site clearance should only proceed in parallel with the construction of bypasses when there is certainty that both are necessary.
“There is credible risk that allowing the SPC to proceed before planning for the new power station is approved will subject the communities of North Anglesey to unnecessary disruption and damage to their environment over manyyears.”
But planning officers say allowing early site clearance work would hasten the build’s timescale. As well as site clearance works, the application also includes building a main site compound with welfare facilities and offices, as well as installing fencing around the perimeter. Three vehicle crossings will also be put in place to accommodate construction vehicles.
The officers’ recommendation notes that “on balance, there is a principal need for the development” at this time which would “facilitate early delivery” of a new nuclear power station.
“The urgency – which is of identified national importance – is considered to sufficiently outweigh concerns including that the site preparation application is ‘premature’ vis-a-vis the DCO process.
“On balance, it is considered that the development, subject to suitable mitigation measures, will make a positive contribution in helping to develop the economy without causing unacceptable impacts to the environment or the local community. While a number of people have raised objections based on their opposition to nuclear power in general, this application will not permit the construction of a power station and interim waste storage facility.
“This is a matter for the Secretary of State to consider.”
A computer-generated image of the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant, on Anglesey