SOUTH Gloucestershire Council has pledged to make the best of a bad situation when a fast-track planning body looks at giving the green light to a new nuclear power station in Oldbury.

The authority says it will work hard to maintain transparency when the newly-created Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) considers proposals for the plant.

Cllr Pat Hockey (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) said: "The opportunity for complaining about the creation of the IPC has been and gone. It’s in place and it’s time the council got cracking and worked out what it’s going to do about it.

"We should be dedicated to transparency and dedicated to making the best out of the situation. As a local authority, we have a special status in the eyes of the IPC.

"We should be helping local people make their views known, we have to work with the applicants to make sure they carry out a proper consultation. I have seen none of this happening."

She said the council should already be consulting residents in Oldbury about the possibility of a new nuclear power station. She added: "This is not transparent and it is not involving the community. This work should have started long ago, we had plenty of warning."

Last month the government named Oldbury as a possible location for a second nuclear power station. Once an application is submitted, the IPC is expected to make a decision within 12 months.

Leader of the council Cllr John Calway (Con, Longwell Green) said: "I am concerned about the process, the role of the IPC and how the IPC expects this authority to consult the public.

"At a time when local government finance is really at rock bottom and we have to cut 315 posts, this is going to cost the authority an absolute fortune.

"We have voiced these concerns about our role and planning policy agreements where companies who submit applications of this nature should pay for the consultation."

The council agreed to formally object to the IPC and underline its commitment to a fair and democratic planning process.