The Environment Agency has launched a 12-week public consultation on 3 environmental permits for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station.

It is seeking feedback from the community and all stakeholders between July 4 and September 25, 2022.

NNB Generation Company (Sizewell C) wants to build a new nuclear power station next to Sizewell B in Suffolk. The company applied for 3 environmental permits in May 2020 and the Environment Agency consulted on these applications from 6 July 2020 to 2 October 2020.

Each permit is an important regulatory approval required by the company to operate the power plant. They cover the control measures that the company must put in place to ensure high standards of environmental protection during commissioning, operation and decommissioning.

If permitted, Sizewell C may:

  • storage and disposal of radioactive waste (permit for the activity of radioactive substances),
  • operate backup power supply systems using diesel generators (combustion activity permit), and,
  • discharge of cooling water and liquid effluents into the North Sea (water discharge permit).

As part of the consultations, public receptions will be held where people will be able to meet with a specialist from the Environmental Protection Agency. They can discuss proposed decision documents, draft permits and supporting assessments.

The Environment Agency’s Sizewell C project manager Simon Barlow said:

Our proposed solution is that we should issue permits for 3 operational activities subject to a consultation process. These draft permits reflect more than 10 years of pre-application discussions with EDF SZC Co.

We set out our arguments in documents and supporting assessments.

The company applied for these permits many years before the plant began operating. If we grant these permits at the start of the project, it will help us to have a positive impact on the design, procurement and commissioning of the power plant, as well as to ensure that the environment and wildlife are protected.

We want our decisions to be more informed through consultation and we want to hear people’s views on our proposed solutions.

If you have any relevant information that you think we have missed, you can leave your comments, which we will consider carefully before making a final decision in early 2023.

The draft permits, proposed decision documents and other supporting documents can be read online, where you can also respond to the consultation:

If you would like to subscribe to the Environment Agency’s e-newsletters on the operation and regulation of the Sizewell C project, please contact: SizewellCNNB@environment-agency.gov.uk

It ends

Notes for editors

About us

The Environment Agency is the independent environmental regulator for the nuclear industry in England. We ensure that nuclear plants meet high standards of environmental protection.

The Environment Agency regulates specific environmental issues at nuclear sites in England by issuing environmental permits. These permits cover site preparation, construction, operation and decommissioning.

Any company that wants to operate a nuclear power plant must show that it can build, commission, operate and decommission it safely and securely, while protecting the environment and managing radioactive waste.

We also work closely with the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR), which regulates the safety and security aspects of Sizewell’s nuclear facilities.

The Environment Agency not only regulates the proposed site by obtaining these environmental permits, but also provides advice and information to the Planning Inspectorate, including on water quality and environmental protection and flood and coastal risk management.

This consultation and what comes next

The Environment Agency has consulted and assessed the applications and its proposed decision is to issue permits subject to restrictions and conditions. Findings from our other assessments (eg Radiation Impact Assessment, HRA, Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW), Water Framework Directive) also support this view.

We have assessed the risks to identified habitats and species and believe that the proposed activity will not have a negative impact on European sites or harm Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Our consultation does not cover UK EPR™ design. It is not about the need for nuclear power, UK energy policy, the siting of nuclear power stations or the safety and security of the project.

During and after the 12 weeks, Environment Agency experts will consider comments and further feedback before making any final decisions.

Online consulting site

Talk to our staff at events:

  • Thursday 14 July 2pm-7.30pm, Saxmundham Market Hall, High Street, IP17 1AF
  • Friday 15th July, 2pm-7.30pm, Aldeburgh Parish Church, Church Hall, Victoria Road, IP15 5DU
  • Saturday 16 July 9am-1.30pm, Leiston Community Centre, King George’s Avenue, IP16 4JX

Evaluation of projects of new nuclear power plants

We have previously worked with the Nuclear Regulatory Authority to carry out an overall design assessment of the structure proposed for Sizewell C, known as the EPR-EPR™ by EDF-Areva UK.

This assessment process was completed in December 2012, with the Environment Agency and ONR concluding that the reactor design was “acceptable”. This means that people and the environment will be adequately protected if this reactor is built and operated in the UK.

This project is currently being developed at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

For more information on our role in the new NPP construction visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sizewell-nuclear-regulation

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/views-sought-on-sizewell-c-nuclear-power-environmental-permits

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