Supporting the environment

Hinkley Point C’s reliable low-carbon electricity will help Britain achieve Net Zero and protect the environment from the threat of climate change.

Electricity demand could double by 2050 as we electrify our lives, and Britain has only gone a quarter of the way to building the energy infrastructure need to support such growth.

Hinkley Point C’s reliable low-carbon electricity will help Britain achieve Net Zero and protect the environment from the threat of climate change.

It is an essential part of a mix with wind and solar that will allow Britain to electrify its transport, homes and businesses without depending on fossil fuels.  Without nuclear, Britain won’t kick the fossil fuel dependency.

All energy technologies create some carbon emissions in their operation and construction, but new studies confirm that Hinkley Point C’s impact is even smaller than wind and solar.

Find out more about how Hinkley Point C is being built sustainably in our new Net Zero Report.

We will increase local biodiversity

That means leaving local nature in a better state than before. 

Whether it’s creating new habitats for wildlife across our main and associated developments sites, funding projects which protect the environment or hiring passionate people who care.

65,000 trees and shrubs planted to date

£540,000 donated to environmentally focused projects through the HPC Community Fund

50 environment specialists across our sites

Switching to solar and hybrid tower lights is saving 500,000L of diesel from being burnt

98% of the steel reinforcement used is recycled

Watch video: How is Hinkley Point C supporting the environment?

How is Hinkley Point C supporting the environment?

Hinkley Point C is committed to protecting the local environment. Here are some of the measures we’ve put in place across the project.

Delivering on our commitments

Land

 

Land

As part of our commitment to leave a positive legacy for the area we have completed an early restoration of the land at the southern edge of the construction site for local people to enjoy.

Sitting near the village of Shurton, the landscaped area features a series of footpaths, winding through tens of thousands of newly planted trees and shrubs. Having originally been agricultural land it’s been converted into an area which will be far richer in biodiversity.

The space has intentionally been designed and landscaped to increase biodiversity, attracting a wide range of wildlife. Ponds are one of the new habitats, with sheltered spaces, like bug hotels, also built for insects and small animals. Another design feature is the planting of a wide variety of native shrubs and trees, giving wildlife plenty to feed on in what is a sustainable habitat.

Whilst you can already spot deer, hare and a variety of birds in the area, in the coming years we look forward to seeing the land develop, watch the trees grow and see a greater range of butterflies, birds and amphibians visiting.

Find out more in the video below and see the “spotted at our sites” section for wildlife clips!

Since introducing the landscaping we are seeing more and more wildlife in the area, this will only increase as the habitats mature.

Luke Stevens, Land & Ecology Lead for Hinkley Point C

Shoreline

 

Shoreline

Hinkley Point C sits on the Somerset coastline, so naturally it’s important for us to protect the shoreline nearby and invest in projects which match our own ambitions.

The red corallina seaweed found along Hinkley Point C’s foreshore provides a unique habitat for a variety of marine life. As corallina can die within 30 minutes if it’s ever deprived of water, the Environment team monitors and manages the shoreline 24/7. The team has created artificial bunds – sandbags wrapped in plastic – which retain water even at low tide. An exclusion zone also protects the Honeycomb worm colonies living nearby. This marine species uses sand to build tubes to live in, which when found in large colonies, creates a reef-like home for other marine wildlife.

“The rocky shore ecology near Hinkley Point C is quite unusual. We’ve got amazing rock strata with lots of limestone and shale ledges and long rockpools with very similar diversity to what you might find along this stretch of Somerset’s brilliant coast” Mark Ward – Somerset Wildlife Trust

But it's not just the work that the environment team delivers that protects local environment - we’ve funded a number of vital local projects which help too.

Images: Nigel Phillips SWT

Somerset’s Brilliant Coast programme, led by the Somerset Wildlife Trust, has been awarded over £159,000 from the HPC Community Fund. The programme raises awareness and engagement in local coastal communities of the county’s coastal wildlife and landscapes, encourages exploration and helps volunteers look after the coastline.

There are three key aspects to the programme:

  1. Curious Coast – gets local people involved in coastal conservation through activities such as guided walks, family days, training workshops, ShoreSearch surveys and beach cleans 

  2. Parish Shores – supports local coastal communities to develop their own projects through initiatives like Plastic Free Community schemes or through conservation tasks, volunteering and citizen science in their own local coastal habitats

  3. Wild Beach – works with local schools and youth groups to use the coast to give children a better connection with nature and encourages them to sign up on the new ‘Somerset School Coastal Champion’ programme

Working with over 40 volunteers the ShoreSearch team visit various beaches along the Somerset coastline, undertaking detailed surveys of the intertidal zone. This data then feeds into a national database to help support coastline conservation. 

Berrow Conservation Group needed to develop our monitoring of wildlife. Through Brilliant Coast, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Mark Ward has helped us write an annual plan of monitoring, and arranged training and support. This work will help us to survey a variety of flora and fauna to preserve and maintain the habitat at our Local Nature Reserve, and complete surveys that link to national databases.

Lesley Millard, Local volunteer for Berrow Conservation Group

The Hinkley Point C funding will leave a really good legacy because of the training we’re giving such as sea watch training looking for poposes and dolphins as well as the ShoreSearch training. It’s getting a group of volunteers together, really enthusing them so they carry on doing the surveys into the future.

Mark Ward, Somerset Wildlife Trust

Wetlands

 

Wetlands

As part of Hinkley Point C’s commitment to environmental protection around the construction site, the project has been monitoring birds on the river Parrett and on the coast close to the Hinkley Point C site.

It’s helping to understand if the project’s use of a temporary jetty and Combwich Wharf could impact birds, specifically Shelduck and over wintering waders. The Shelduck are important features of the area, they congregate in the mouth of the Parrett to complete their annual moult, during this period they are particularly vulnerable to disturbance. The monitoring we’ve completed so far shows there is minimal disturbance to birds by Hinkley Point C vessels.

The monitoring is being undertaken by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) who operate Steart Marshes  – the closest nature reserve to the construction site. As part of a wider support package for the reserve, the project is funding a warden. As well as monitoring activities, the warden engages with the many walkers, dog walkers and bird watchers visiting Steart Marshes.

Hinkley Point C has also funded a bird hide in Bridgwater Bay and relocated a bird hide at Steart Marshes, so visitors can look out across both the river and wetlands to enjoy the views and wide open landscape.

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is a charity working to save wetlands globally and in the UK for wildlife, people and our planet. 

Find out more about our work with WWT in the videos below or visit wwt.org.uk

There are lots of opportunities for partnership working between WWT and Hinkley Point with shared warden roles as well as survey data sharing which allow us to build a bigger picture of birds and other species in the local area.

Alys Laver, Steart Marshes Site Manager

Passionate People

"I first realised I was to pursue a career in an environmental role when I decided I wanted to make our planet a better place to live; where the preservation of the natural environment is at the forefront of our society. We still have a long way to go, but we are achieving exciting things on the move towards a decarbonised and sustainable future."

Olivia Hobson, EDF Environment Engineer

 

"I have lived in Somerset all of my life and having come from a farming background on the Somerset Levels I have always had a keen interest in the environment and the local area. Having worked in the environment management and construction sector for 18 years, I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to work in a role which helps to ensure that our works here do not impact on the local or wider environment."

Emma Keen, EDF Environment & Sustainability Manager

 

"I have worked all over the world on some amazing projects during the last 17 years but nothing compares to the variety, scale and unique challenges that this Project has to offer."

Kevin O’Connell, EDF Site Marine Ecologist

Working with a local wetland reserve

Birds

Working with a local wetland reserve

Carbon Storage

Working with a local wetland reserve

Small animals

Increasing biodiversity at Hinkley Point C

At the southern end of the Hinkley Point C construction site, we’ve planted 40,000 trees and shrubs, built wildlife ponds and created bug hotels. All designed to create lasting habitats for local wildlife.

Working with Somerset Wildlife Trust

Over £150,000 of Hinkley Point C funding is being used to support the Somerset Wildlife Trust Brilliant Coast’s Campaign.

Locally sourced food – from field to fork

Somerset Larder's focus on sourcing local ingredients is making a difference to the wider sustainability of the project.

Wondering how you can make a difference?

At Hinkley Point C we’ve created habitats across both our main and associated development sites. Whether that’s bird boxes, our badger barn, habitats for breeding water voles or the thousands of trees and shrubs we’ve planted.

But you don’t need lots of space to make a difference, no matter how big your garden is, we’ve created some simple How To guides to help you create new habitats.

How to build a bug hotel

How to build a bucket pond

Spotted at our sites

Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at the nature and wildlife we’ve spotted across our sites!

Contact us

The best way to contact us about Hinkley Point C is by completing our online enquiry form. You can also call us on 0333 009 7070 (24 hour free phone number).

Stay connected

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