IMAGE: © Nigel Phillips

Supporting the environment

Hinkley Point C is playing a vital role in the road to Net Zero even before it starts producing zero-carbon electricity for six million homes. With impact on the environment being minimised during construction, the project is committed to increasing biodiversity and leaving nature in a better state than before for wildlife and, of course, people.

Whether it’s creating new habitats for wildlife across the main and associated development sites, funding projects which protect the environment or hiring passionate people who care, Hinkley Point C is working to deliver on its commitment to the environment.

Cash for community wildlife works

The HPC Community Fund is supporting many local projects that benefit Somerset’s wildlife. Thanks to a £2,000 boost, volunteers and the Inland Waterways Association are keeping canals in the area clear of invasive plants that can upset the ecological balance. These waterways are an important home to dragonflies, water beetles, bugs and snails as well as fish and the host of animals that live on their banks.

Community-based Magna Housing Association received £3,595 towards its community bird box project to give wildlife a home alongside its housing for humans. 

Cutting carbon 

The project’s carbon footprint is being reduced in innovative and exciting ways…

  • So far, 500,000 litres of diesel have been saved by installing solar powered lights around the site. That’s enough to fill 3,330 bathtubs
  • Emissions in Hinkley Point C’s joinery workshop have been cut by switching from a diesel-powered lift to an electric one – that’s a 57% carbon reduction
  • By sorting waste on site, the number of vehicles moving off site has been reduced by a whopping 75%
  • Hinkley Point C now uses an electric van to escort components across the site, cutting carbon emissions for this task by 75%.

Supporting biodiversity

Increasing biodiversity is a big focus for Hinkley Point C. As part of its commitment to leave a positive legacy, land on the southern edge of the site has already undergone early restoration.

It’s now home to a variety of wildlife – with deer, hare and a range of birds already spotted in the area – near the village of Shurton. A series of footpaths wind through tens of thousands of newly planted trees and shrubs. What was once farmland now has new ponds, bug hotels and other landscaping to provide shelter and food for insects and small animals. As the area matures, local residents will be able to enjoy seeing the trees grow and even more butterflies and amphibians moving in.

The project is taking care of local coastline too. 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 deprived of water, the Environment team monitors and manages the shoreline round the clock. Hinkley Point C is also working closely with Somerset Wildlife Trust, with more than £150,000 in funding supporting the Brilliant Coasts Project. That’s allowing volunteers to receive ShoreSearch and Sea Watch training – putting them on the lookout for marine wildlife, including dolphins and porpoises. These surveys contribute to valuable national data collection.

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 porpoises 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

Plus, at Steart Marshes, Hinkley Point C is working with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) to boost bird numbers through the habitat creation scheme at the wetland reserve, where Hinkley Point C is funding the warden among other things. Thanks to WWT’s work, bird populations are flourishing. They’re up from 19,000 birds and 29 species in 2014 to more than 30,000 birds and 53 different species making it their home today.

It all adds up...

Here are just some of the ways the project has made a real difference so far…

  • 65,000 trees and shrubs planted to date
  • £540,000 donated to environmentally focused projects
  • 50 environment specialists across all sites
  • 99% of the steel reinforcement used is recycled
  • 60,000 tonnes of recycled steel used so far
  • 10,000,000m3: of soils and rock reused in construction.

"Having come from a farming background on the Somerset Levels, I’ve always had a keen interest in the environment and the local area. I feel privileged to have a role that ensures our work here does not impact on the local or wider environment."

Emma Keen, Environment and Sustainability Manager, EDF

"It’s such an exciting sector to be in. I believe that we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do to achieve the most sustainable results."

Rosy James, Environmental Manager, Bylor

"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’re achieving exciting things on the move towards a decarbonised and sustainable future."

Olivia Hobson, Environmental Engineer, EDF

"I’m confident that the waste knowledge transfer being delivered on the site will encourage team members to be more conscious of their behaviour when it comes to the environment."

Samuel Ziki, Environmental Advisor, Viridor

"I hope to keep on learning and striving for Environmental and Sustainability excellence, taking lessons learned from HPC and incorporating them into our global operations and to other projects."

Chris Devlin, HSE Representative, Socea Denys