The Welsh Government has called in planning permission to clear the proposed site for Wylfa Newydd.
But concerns about the impact on wildlife at a nearby nature reserve has led to the decision being called in by ministers. A Government review on the plans could take several months.
In a letter to Anglesey Council, the Government’s department for energy, planning and rural affairs said there were concerns that the application separated preparing the site from the later construction stages and the actual operation of Wylfa Newydd.
They added: ”If there are harmful environmental effects from the project overall, planning authorities need to be satisfied that any reasonable alternative sites which would result in less harm, no harm or gain, have been fully considered.”
Wildlife groups including the RSPB and the National Trust say they have significant concerns about whether the impact of the work on Cemlyn Nature Reserve – a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, home to animals at risk.
The Welsh Government decided to call in the plans, claiming that council planners only considered the clearing works themsleves and not the wider implications. But a spokesperson said the review did not imply any opinion from ministers in Cardiff Bay about the project.
Horizon, who pledged to create special ecological areas and habitats to offset the impact, said they were disappointed – and disagreed with the ”reasoning and justification” for the Government decision. They added they were considering their options on how to respond.
Councillor Carwyn Jones, the council executive’s member for economic development, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: ”The hope is that the call-in will not have an adverse effect on the Wylfa Newydd development as this is key as a vital catalyst to develop the economy of the island and north Wales.”
The council voted unaminously to give planning permission, despite facing legal action from Greenpeace, who argued clearing work should not begin until Wylfa Newydd is given the final go-ahead.
The future of the project has come under speculation – ahead of a board meeting earlier this week, Japanese media reported that Hitachi, which owns Horizon Nuclear Power, was considering whether to scrap Wylfa Newydd altogether because of growing construction costs.
The company said it wouldn’t comment on any speculation – although its chairman, Hiroaki Nakanishi, admitted last week that they were struggling to find investors.