Sizewell C update – September 2021

Sizewell C update – September 2021

Vegetated shingle on Sizewell Beach - Steve Aylward

Our views have not changed. Plans for Sizewell C should not go ahead due to potential impacts on wildlife. Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Head of Conservation, Ben McFarland, explains…

We are continuing to invest time and resources into challenging the plans put forward by EDF Energy for Sizewell C. The sheer scale of the application means that we have had to remain very focussed on the biggest risk and impacts upon local wildlife. On the plus side, through consistent pressure and challenge, EDF have finally agreed to re-configure the shape of one of the Water Management Zones to avoid destroying a considerable part of the natterjack toad hibernation site. This nationally rare and protected species is only found at a handful of sites in East Anglia. As a result of our lobbying and expert advice and input from the specialist charity, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, EDF have also agreed to manage the surrounding land more sensitively for this species, including creating four new ponds specifically designed for natterjack toads.

Whilst the mitigation plan for the nationally rare barbastelle bat slowly gets better, we still have significant concerns over their long term future if the development goes ahead. Along with East Suffolk Council and support from the RSPB, we have pushed hard for EDF to come up with a better mitigation package and thankfully we have made some gains, such as a central dark corridor through the site, to help with foraging as well as improvements to roost provision and less impactful lighting. Despite this, major concerns still remain. Specifically, the lack of any significant buffering from noise and light impacts around a number of sensitive locations, the continuing lack of roost surveys within the area of SSSI that could be lost and ignoring the possible impact on pregnant female and juvenile barbastelle, which would be more significantly impacted as a result of their impaired flying ability.

The Sizewell Belts Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) itself is of major concern. We think there is a high risk that whilst EDF can maintain water levels within the wetland, home to many nationally rare plants and invertebrates, they can only do this by fundamentally compromising water quality. This has the potential to permanently damage a considerable part of the SSSI. EDF continue to dispute this and ultimately the decision as to whether this risk is acceptable will be down to the Planning Inspector. Working with Friends of the Earth and the RSPB, we continue to clearly make our case.

We also help support work in a number of other areas, such as working closely with the RSPB who are leading on the potential impacts at Minsmere and foraging of birds such as little tern.


Find out more


Read the RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s summary of key concerns

More information and news updates: 

Sizewell C news updates

Over 100,000 people are concerned about Sizewell C’s impacts on nature

News release: Sizewell C threatens stunning wild coast

Love Minsmere Live event hosted by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin (27 Nov 2020): 

Suffolk Wildlife Trust's representation to the Planning Inspectorate (29th Sept 2020)

Our stage 4 response (23 Sept 2019)

Wildlife charities unite (27 May 2020): 

Further historical details 

Sizewell Marshes SSSI with Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Charlie McMurray

Standing up for nature in Suffolk. Why plans for Sizewell C are disastrous for Suffolk's wildlife.