CLEAR­ING THE WAY

De­vel­op­ers plan 740-acre works to make way for Wylfa Newydd:

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Gareth Wyn Wil­liams

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

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