5:39 PM September 16, 2022
The RSPB will support a campaign group’s legal case to block a new nuclear project, after it missed the deadline to submit its own 24-hour judicial review.
In a statement posted to its Twitter, RSPB Minsmere said: “We have recently announced our intention to seek leave for judicial review of the government’s Sizewell C decision.
“Unfortunately, we were informed that our documents were submitted one day late. Given the difficult nature of the short deadline and having to do it during the summer vacation period, we were wrong. hourly.
“We are obviously devastated, and we can only apologize to those who have supported us throughout the process.”
RSPB chief operating officer Jeff Knott explained the error, saying the team started counting the six-week period from the day after the government confirmed development consent, rather than the day of the ad.
“It was totally our mistake,” Mr Knott said.
“We needed every hour we could put into the case, as we had to wade through thousands of pages and take legal advice on a project that had been in the works for the better part of a decade.”
However, the silver lining for Mr Knott is that campaign group Together Against Sizewell C were able to submit their judicial review within the allotted six-week deadline.
“They will have a strong case with similar areas of concern to the RSPB,” Mr Knott said.
“We wish them every success.”
Mr Knott added that the whole case had to be put together within the six-week deadline, meaning that new evidence could not be submitted after that point.
He said: “Usually after a planning decision is made people have several months to submit their case against it, but that has recently been reduced to just six weeks.
‘We feel this whole process is stacked against those challenging Sizewell C’s proposals and it also appears that EDF may have set and missed its own deadlines on several occasions.’
A spokesperson for EDF Energy, the proponents of the nuclear project, said: “The planning process is a clear and transparent system. Many set deadlines are not within our control. We must respect them like everyone else.
They added: “We have engaged with the RSPB not only during formal consultation periods, but much more regularly throughout the past decade.
“The timelines are very clear to everyone involved and the only times we’ve extended those under our control have been to allow more time for feedback.”