The UK government has been hit with a legal challenge over its recent issuance of development consent to the 3.2GW Sizewell C nuclear power project to be built by EDF in Suffolk, England.

Contesting the government’s approval, Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) has issued a pre-action protocol (PAP) letter stating that the development consent was unlawfully given.

The letter marks the launch of the judicial review process against the project, said law firm Leigh Day, which is representing TASC.

According to Leigh Day, TASC provided evidence to the Examining Authority that Sizewell C, which is to be constructed alongside the 27-year-old Sizewell B nuclear power plant, should not be built at that site in the Suffolk location.

TASC claimed that the water supply cannot be guaranteed at the location and the coastline would not be resilient for the complete lifetime of the project.

TASC chair Pete Wilkinson said: “The case against Sizewell C is overwhelming, as has been carefully documented throughout the inquiry stage and was found by the Planning Inspector to have merit.

“Even to consider building a £20+ bn nuclear power plant without first securing a water supply is a measure of the fixation this government has for nuclear power and its panic in making progress towards an energy policy which is as unachievable as it is inappropriate for the 21st century challenges we face.”

Leigh Day stated that the Examining Authority partly accepted the arguments of TASC, and recommended against granting the development consent. However, UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng turned down the advice and gave his consent to the Sizewell C nuclear power project last month, said the law firm.

In its PAP letter, TASC alleged that there was a failure in assessing the implications of the nuclear power project as a whole, by not considering the matter of whether a permanent water supply could be tenable.

The activist organisation in its letter questioned why the Secretary of State did not agree with the warnings of Natural England regarding the risks of not studying all aspects of the planning proposal at the Development Consent Order stage.

TASC also claimed that the UK government wrongly assumed the site will be free from nuclear material by 2140, when the evidence showed a much later date.

Leigh Day solicitor Rowan Smith said: “Our client is understandably shocked that the Secretary of State has gone against the considered and reasoned view of the independent Planning Inspectorate and granted development consent in a potentially legally flawed manner.

“TASC has very real concerns that the environmental impacts of Sizewell C have not been properly assessed. If the Secretary of State does not see the error of his ways, then we intend to do all we can to bring this to the Court’s attention.”

The Sizewell C nuclear power project is estimated to deliver low carbon electricity to approximately six million homes. Additionally, it will help offset close to nine million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.