An Taisce challenges Hinkley Point nuclear plant

Hinkley Point C proposal The UK government approved plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in April

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A decision to give permission for a new nuclear power station on the west coast of England facing Ireland should be quashed, London High Court has heard.

The National Trust of Ireland - An Taisce - is challenging plans for the plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, 150 miles from the Irish coast.

The plant was granted planning permission by Energy Secretary Ed Davey last month.

An Taisce is challenging the legality of the decision.

It is seeking a judicial review at the High Court.

Its lawyers say there was a failure to undertake "transboundary consultation" with the Irish people beforehand as required by the European Commission's Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.

The government says that such consultation was not necessary as it had already dealt with the potentially very severe impact that nuclear accidents - although agreed to be unlikely - could have, were they to happen.

That screening decision process, in April 2012, took into account matters such as the technical information in the environmental statement, prior assessment of the likelihood of accidents and the role of the Office of Nuclear Regulation in licensing.

Transboundary consultation was only required in relation to significant environmental effects of which there was a "real risk" or a "serious possibility", it argued, and not those in relation to which there was only a bare possibility.

On Thursday, at the start of a two-day hearing in London, David Wolfe QC, for An Taisce, told a judge that the screening decision and failure to consult were unlawful and the development consent was therefore granted in breach of the EIA Directive.

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