The backers of Wylfa Newydd have been given more time to start work on significant improvements to a 16-kilometre stretch of road linking the development with the A55.
Anglesey’s Planning Committee unanimously approved giving developers another three years to commence work on widening and putting down a new surface on the A5025 between Valley and Llanynghenedl, Llanfachraeth and Llanrhuddlad, and Cefn Coch to the proposed nuclear site.
The original plans, approved in 2018, ran out last month, but the extension now means that they have until July 2023.
The project is officially on hold but backers hope that a UK Government decision on a Development Consent Order (DCO) could provide a welcome kick starter if a favourable decision is made by ministers next month.
In its submission to Anglesey Council, Horizon Nuclear Power acknowledged the “suspended state” of the project but noted its commitment to securing the DCO “in anticipation of these funding arrangements being realised and the project recommencing”.
The firm described the road improvements as “an integral component of delivering the project should DCO be granted”.
But while the plans were approved during a virtual meeting of Anglesey Council’s Planning Committee on Wednesday, the concerns of local communities were also highlighted.
Cllr John Griffith, who represents the Talybolion ward, noted that local community councils had raised concerns that back roads could become a “rat run” as motorists avoid the A5025 due to the major roadworks that would be involved.
Citing the road from Llangefni to Llannerch-y-medd and past Llanfechell, he added: “These roads haven’t been designed to accomodate such traffic and is there a way of mitigating and considering this as part of the plans?”
But members approved the plans unanimously.
The plans include the widening of some sections of the road, including some of the sharp bends, with a new surface also put in place to improve its quality and extend its lifespan.
A temporary construction compound would also be installed to handle the materials removed from the existing road and recycle them to construct the new road.
Up to 95% of material would be reused, reducing the need to bring in and dispose of materials, with a site being proposed alongside the A5025 near Cefn Coch for this purpose.
Expected to take over a year to complete, the road improvements alone would employ up to 125 workers during the construction phase.
But with a proportion of the work being specialist road construction, developers also anticipate that some of the skilled labour would need to be sourced from outside the local area.
Separate plans for new sections of road to bypass villages along the existing A5025, namely Valley, Llanfachraeth and Cefn Coch, are not part of the current application, however, and are being dealt with as part of the main Development Consent Order application to build the power station.