A CONSULTATION into a new nuclear power station has been extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The project team behind the Bradwell B consultation has decided to extend the consultation for a further five weeks, allowing more time for the community to engage with the proposals and provide feedback. The consultation will now end on July 1.

The consultation into the major project, which would create 900 permanent jobs, was opened last month.

However, exhibitions and face-to-face meetings were cancelled when the country went into lockdown.

Alan Rayment, chief executive of Bradwell B, said: “For critical infrastructure projects like Bradwell B to continue moving forwards so we can make progress towards delivering the low carbon electricity the country needs, we have to find new ways for people to engage with us, and I am pleased this is what we have been able to do.”

The team is also bringing in new ways to discuss the project as part of the consultation process. Telephone surgery sessions are being held to enable residents to speak to the project technical team in 20-minute appointment slots.

Sessions will be held on weekdays and on Saturdays in late-April and early May. A virtual public exhibition is being hosted on the website along with an interactive version of the proposal.

Mr Rayment added: “We also want to give people as much time and opportunity as reasonably possible to give us feedback hence our decision to extend the consultation. We will continue to engage with the community after the consultation stage itself in order to make sure we get as much input from the public as possible.”

Campaign group Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group had called for an extension to the consultation.

Prof Andy Blowers, the group’s chairman, said: “By persisting in carrying on with this consultation, the developer assumes the public will be willing to engage at a time when they are distracted and distressed and fully focused on survival during the present coronavirus crisis.

“Come hell or high water it seems the Chinese company is intent on pressing ahead regardless. It is preposterous to assert there is an urgent national need for a project which cannot be operating until the 2030s.

“In fact, there is no need for nuclear in the energy mix of the future and a few months delay in the progress of such an expensive and long-term project would make little difference.”