The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has published a report on the potential effects that the proposed new nuclear power station may have on the surrounding protected natural habitats.
Under the Habitats Directive, the Government is required to protect certain natural habitats, known as European sites, by adopting necessary conservation measures within the UK.
The purpose of the report from PINS is to compile, document and signpost the information received during the examination of the DCO application to ensure that the appropriate nature conservation bodies, including Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales, are consulted and to ensure that the Secretary of State is compliant with the Habitats Directive.
The report initially addresses the screening process for the likely significant effects for each of the European sites that may potentially be affected by the proposed project. It then details the effects that the proposed development may have on the integrity of European sites, considered in the context of their conservation objectives. Finally, the report summarises the outstanding points for clarification regarding assessment under the UK Habitats Regulations.
The report, as well as the consultation responses received on it, will be used by PINS to provide a report to the Secretary of State regarding any likely significant effects that the proposed nuclear power station may have on the European sites, and crucially, whether the integrity of the sites will be adversely affected.
In other news, the European Commission has communicated its approval of EDF’s Hinkley Point C plans, details of which are covered below.