CAMPAIGNERS have criticised EDF’s application for site preparation work ahead of a proposed new power station at Hinkley Point, branding the move “premature”.

As statutory consultees, Sedgemoor District Council held a special meeting this afternoon to consider the energy giant’s plans to carry out site clearance, site levelling, drainage, haul-age roads and other associated works.

But campaigners Stop Hinkley believe the request from EDF is “jumping the gun” as a planning application for a new power station has not yet been submitted.

Spokesman Crispin Aubrey added: “If the French company does not gain approval for the power station from the Infrastructure Planning Commission, over 400 acres of beautiful countryside will have been needlessly trashed.”

A spokesman for Save Cannington Action Group added: “This move will cause traffic chaos on Cannington’s small village roads and would be completely unnecessary if EDF do not get planning permission for construction – this is very premature.”

West Somerset District Council’s planning committee will meet on Thursday to make a final decision on the preparation plans and have been recommended to grant permission, subject to the prior completion of a Section 106 agreement – a document setting out the developer’s obligations.

The agreement includes EDF’s offer of more than £25million to mitigate the impacts of the development, including road and traffic works, environment and community outreach, skills and training.

A spokesperson for the council said that if the committee gives plans the go-ahead, EDF would be obliged to honour the planning obligations even if it does not get a planning permission from the IPC.

EDF Energy’s director of planning and external affairs of nuclear new build, Richard Mayson, said: “We are pleased with the council officers’ recommendation and are grateful for the support shown for our proposals, but we recognise that it is for the council members to decide the application on its merits.”

To find out the results of today's meeting, keep reading this website.