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Sizewell B Challenge Dismissed by the High Court

Andrew Tait QC
Hereward Phillpot QC
Isabella Tafur

R (on the application of Joan Girling) v. (1) East Suffolk Council (2) EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Limited (3) NNB Generation Company (SZC) Limited [2020] EWHC 2579 (Admin).

The High Court (Holgate J) has dismissed an application for judicial review of a decision by East Suffolk Council to grant planning permission for the relocation of various facilities for the Sizewell B nuclear power station.  The development is proposed in order to facilitate the construction of the new Sizewell C nuclear power station if it is approved in due course.

The Claimant pursued two grounds of challenge.  First, it was alleged that the Council had unlawfully failed to consider the need for, and alternatives to, the proposed development when addressing whether there were exceptional circumstances to justify major development in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.  Second, it was alleged that the Council failed to reach a lawful conclusion that the environmental information was “up to date” contrary to regulation 26 of the EIA Regulations.

The judgment helpfully clarifies the differences between the application of the “exceptional circumstances” tests in the Green Belt and the AONB, and the precise nature of the obligations arising under regulation 26.

Andrew Tait QC and Isabella Tafur appeared on behalf of the Defendant, East Suffolk Council.  Hereward Phillpot QC appeared on behalf of the Interested Parties, EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Limited and NNB Generation Company (SZC) Limited.