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Pitt turns down Hinkley extension request

Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) chairman Sir Michael Pitt has turned down a request by two councils to extend the six month examination period to enable their review of theHinkley Point nuclear station planning proposal.

West Somerset Council and Sedgemoor District Council together requested the extension following a funding dispute with developer EdF. The latter had refused to fully fund additional review resources for the councils to enable the deadline for their review of the application to be met. But acting on the recommendation of the IPC panel reviewing the Hinkley Point application, Pitt turned down their request.

The IPC panel recommended that proceeding with the statutory timetable of six months “would not result in any important and relevant issues not being adequately examined”.

The decision was the last action by the IPC late last week. Officially the commission was abolished from 1 April, but many of its functions have now transferred to the National Infrastructure Directorate sitting within the Planning Inspectorate.

From now on, any decision to extend the examination table will lie with the relevant secretary of state, as will the final determination on whether to rubber stamp nationally significant infrastructure schemes.

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