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Hinkley planning programme under threat as councils seek extension to review

Two councils in the south west are seeking an extension to the six month examination period they have to review energy firm EdF Energy’s plans to build a new power station at Hinkley Point.

West Somerset Council and Sedgemoor District Council have asked the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) for an extension to the six month examination period after failing to come to an agreement with EdF over funding their review work.

Queen’s councillor Martin Kingston, representing West Somerset Council and Sedgemoor District Council, asked the IPC for an extension at this week’s Preliminary Hearing that marked the start of the six month examination period.

“If the funding gap cannot be bridged,” said Kingston to the IPC commissioners. “Then we [the councils] need more time to examining the documents.”

But EdF rejected the suggestion saying it had already provided a large amount of funding to the councils and the timetable should not be changed.

“EdF has provided over £13M to the councils,” said EdF director of planning and external affairs Richard Mason. “And six months is enough time to explore all the issues.”

The row over funding between the councils and EdF broke out last month. The councils have requested £2.2M more to fund the examination stage of the Hinkley Point C application, but EdF has offered them £344,000 which it says covers reasonable costs

The IPC panel now must consider the councils proposal but no date has been given on when a decision on how to proceed will be made.

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