Wildlife charities unite in position against Sizewell C

Sizewell nuclear power stations (photo: Sarah Groves)

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has united with the RSPB in a position against Sizewell C stating that the build must not go ahead.

We have highlighted concerns about the timing of proceeding with this decision, amid a public health crisis, which is likely to impact public scrutiny of plans.

The charities have not seen the evidence from EDF that Sizewell C can be built without detrimentally impacting internationally and nationally important landscapes, habitats and species of the Suffolk coast, at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve, Sizewell Belts Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and beyond.

Ben McFarland at Sizewell C

Ben McFarland, Head of Conservation, at Sizewell nuclear power stations (photograph: Sarah Groves)

Ben McFarland, Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Head of Conservation said: “Current plans suggest the direct loss of nationally important and protected land on Sizewell Belts, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. An area between 10-12 hectares – or roughly ten football pitches - will be covered in concrete. The loss of this nationally rare fen habitat would be devastating and irreplaceable.”  

Ben McFarland and Adam Rowlands outline their concerns for Suffolk's wildlife should plans for Sizewell C go ahead:

On neighbouring land at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve, the build will bring the Sizewell Estate adjacent to the internationally famous wildlife haven. The building work may increase erosion, upsetting the delicate balance of the reserve. It could affect the water levels in Minsmere’s ditches, impacting its rare wetland wildlife, which includes bitterns, water voles, otters and ducks. Once the construction is in progress, it may increase levels of noise and light pollution. Marsh harriers, ducks and geese and wading birds in particular are very sensitive to this. The effects will be long-term.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Water vole - Terry Whittaker

With a lack of evidence to negate these concerns, the charities do not believe that the environmental evidence presented will be sufficient to allow for a full and robust assessment of all possible impacts of the application on the neighbouring designated conservation sites.

Bittern, Ben Andrew (RSPB Images)

Bittern - Ben Andrew (RSPB Images)

Adam Rowlands, RSPB Suffolk Area Manager said: “The Government has already recognised in their National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation (EN-6) that Sizewell C could have detrimental impacts on internationally and nationally important landscapes, habitats and species of the Suffolk coast and at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve* [ref below].

“EDF have not presented us with sufficient evidence that these disastrous impacts can be avoided. Without this evidence, we have been forced to conclude given the levels of uncertainty, that the build must not go ahead given its anticipated impacts on the environment.”

Adam Rowlands added: “It’s outrageous that EDF have decided to proceed with this decision in the midst of a public health crisis. Nature is crucial to many people’s mental and physical wellbeing at this time of national challenge and I’m sure many will be disappointed to know that plans for Sizewell C represent a huge loss for nature.”

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