Sizewell C proposals and its impact on bats

Sizewell nuclear power stations (photo: Sarah Groves)

Ben McFarland, Head of Conservation

The Sizewell estate and many areas affected by the proposed Sizewell C development are currently really important for bats, with an exceptional diversity of different species (at least 10) which are also found in high numbers.

We are very concerned about the impact the 10-plus year construction phase of the development could have on the bat populations within the site and the wider Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Bats need a good and constant supply of insects to feed on, habitat corridors to reach food and roosting sites, and a dark, quiet, undisturbed environment. 

One concern is the impact we think Sizewell C will have on the local, but nationally important, population of the rare barbastelle bat. This includes potential impacts on a maternity colony, where female barbastelle gather each year to have their pups. There are very few known breeding sites in the UK and the development puts this at risk.  

Barbastelle are a medium-sized bat, weighing a maximum of 13 grams, and they are distinctive for their pug-shaped nose coupled with large ears. Unfortunately, we know they are very prone to disturbance both at roost sites and when out foraging for food. They like open, quiet and dark places, as it is now, but clearly the Sizewell C development will change all of this. This is why we are really concerned about the fate of this rare bat. 

We have raised this as an issue with EDF, amongst many other concerns we have for this extremely important and sensitive coastal habitat. It is our view that the plans as they currently stand for Sizewell C must not go ahead. 

We will keep you informed as to how we are raising our concerns for wildlife threatened by Sizewell C and will also let you know how you can help support us.