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EdF says judicial review will not delay Hinkley

Energy giant EdF Energy has played down the impact of a judicial review launched by cellophane firm Innovia over its use of land to construct Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.

An EdF spokesman said the judicial review will not up hold the company’s application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) for the project. The application is due by the end of this year.

The judicial review relates to the IPC’s decision to allow EdF access to Innovia’s land to carry out exploratory survey work. EdF wants to use the land for temporary worker accommodation during the nuclear power plant’s five year build programme.

According to an EdF spokesman, the firm can apply for powers of compulsory purchase as part of its application to the IPC, if it is unable to agree a settlement for the land with the owner. Should the project go ahead, around 5,600 workers would be employed during peak construction.

IPC test case

Bircham Dyson Bell infrastructure planning lawyer Angus Walker has said Innovia’s challenge to the IPC is “a practically pointless exercise”.

“The challenge is rather like closing the stable door once the horse has bolted, since the surveys have already been carried out,” Walker said.

But he said it could be an interesting test case to establish whether applications to the IPC can include plans for workers’ temporary accommodation. Currently, “dwellings” cannot be part of an IPC application for major infrastructure, Walker said. This case could establish whether temporary accommodation counts as “dwellings” or not.

“If it is decided on this point, the case would clear up the issue and allow EdF and other project promoters to include workers’ accommodation in their applications to the IPC with more confidence. Thus ironically this case could help rather than hinder the UK’s nuclear programme,” Walker said.

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