After more than a decade working on the Sizewell C Project, we are delighted to report that on Wednesday 20 July 2022 the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy granted development consent for the Sizewell C Project.

Before delving into the examination and decision, some quick facts:

  • The Sizewell C power station, which will take around 9-12 years to build, will comprise two UK EPR™ reactor units giving a total site capacity of approximately 3,340MW.
  • Once operational, Sizewell C will generate enough low carbon electricity to supply approximately six million homes in the UK and contribute towards the UK meeting its energy and climate change objectives including the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • By replacing fossil-fuel power, it will avoid around nine million tonnes of carbon emissions each year (compared to a gas-fired power station).
  • The project will support 70,000 jobs across the UK and contribute around £4bn to the regional economy.
  • The DCO also authorises a series of associated developments in the local area, including a rail line and two new bypasses to facilitate transport of freight and the thousands of construction workers who will be involved in delivery of the project.
  • The section 106 agreement, known as the deed of obligation, together with an environmental charity deed, imposed a record breaking £250m of financial obligations.

The 55,000-page application was prepared during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when the whole team were forced to work from home. The application was submitted in May 2020 and once accepted EDF Energy elected to allow almost three months (much longer than the minimum 28 days required) for interested parties to submit relevant representations due to the Covid-19 restrictions in place at that time. The examination ran from April to October 2021, after which the Examining Authority took the very unusual decision to request an extension to the recommendation period of six weeks for reasons that included unexpected health issues experienced by the Examining Authority. Despite writing to the Examining Authority to tell it to “ensure that future timetables…are adhered to“, the Secretary of State later extended his own decision deadline twice from 25 May to 8 July then to 20 July 2022.

In granting development consent, the Secretary of State disagreed with the Examining Authority (which comprised a panel of five Planning Inspectors) who had recommended refusal of the application. The Secretary of State considered the overall planning balance and concluded that there was a “very substantial and urgent need” for the Sizewell C Project which outweighed the harms, and recognised the Sizewell C Project’s contributions to low-carbon energy production as well as its very substantial economic, employment and skills benefits.

Herbert Smith Freehills has acted for EDF Energy on this project since 2010, having also worked with EDF Energy to secure consent for Sizewell C’s sister project, Hinkley Point C, in 2013. The planning team was led by Catherine Howard who was supported by Charlotte Dyer, Alistair Paul, Julia McKeown and Rebecca Butterworth.

For more information please contact:

Catherine Howard
Catherine Howard
Partner, Planning, London
+44 20 7466 2858
Charlotte Dyer
Charlotte Dyer
Of Counsel, Planning, London
+44 20 7466 2275
Alistair Paul
Alistair Paul
Senior Associate, Planning, London
+44 20 7466 2252
Julia McKeown
Julia McKeown
Senior Associate (New Zealand), Planning, London
+44 20 7466 2321
Rebecca Butterworth
Rebecca Butterworth
Associate, Planning, London
+44 20 7466 2437