We want Sizewell C to demonstrate how industry can help look after the local environment and that we can build a new power station while protecting this precious area of the Suffolk coastline. We intend to continue decades of responsible stewardship of the Sizewell estate (an area of 600 hectares) which has contributed to the rich biodiverse landscape of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Starling murmuration over Aldhurst Farm, the Sizewell C habitat creation scheme
We continue to have constructive discussions with our neighbour RSPB Minsmere and we welcome their constructive approach when meeting with us and discussing these issues.
The Sizewell C site will not encroach onto RSPB Minsmere, and where it does neighbour the border of the reserve, we only propose to create a water storage area that will be transformed into wet woodland habitat and reedbeds. Our plans include specific proposals to safeguard wildlife at Minsmere, including bats and rare birds such as bitterns, avocets, marsh harriers and ground nesting birds. We will continue to work with the RSPB who are a valued neighbour, and we are confident our plans will not have any negative impact on this internationally important site.
Marsh Harrier at Aldhurst Farm, the Sizewell C habitat creation scheme
Since 2015, we have converted over 150 hectares of arable land into grassland, equivalent to an area six times the size of Thorpeness Meare. We have designated an extra 250 hectares of land for wildlife as part of our plans for Sizewell C, including at Aldhurst Farm in Leiston and fen meadow habitat creation sites in Halesworth and Benhall. Our work so far is yielding good results and the 67hectare habitat we have established at Aldhurst Farm, which includes five lagoons and more than 120,000 reedbeds, has been colonised by rare marsh harriers, which also breed at Minsmere.
Any large infrastructure project involves some local disruption. However, rigorous surveys and assessments show there will be no significant impact on most of the local wildlife, flora, and fauna. We have assessed the impact of construction on all relevant species of plants and habitats, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, bats, and terrestrial mammals. Our findings show that, apart from one plant species and two bat species, there will be no negative impact on any species once mitigation measures are put in place.
Norfolk Hawker Female dragonfly at Sizewell C
Our plans for Sizewell C include a strategy to create a net gain in biodiversity. The measures we are undertaking mean there will be a net gain in land for biodiversity and a 10% net gain in biodiversity overall.
Should Sizewell C achieve development consent, we intend to establish an independent Environmental Trust to manage the ongoing re-wilding and biodiversity of the growing Sizewell estate. Of nearly 800 hectares of land under the management of this Trust, the nuclear licensed area will amount to 69 hectares. We will commit to contributing to the Trust every year during the operation of Sizewell C, with a view to expanding and connecting further parcels of land identified for re-wilding and habitat creation. We will update the community regularly on our progress on this concept.
The biggest challenge facing wildlife is climate change. The UK cannot play its part in addressing the climate crisis without nuclear power. Sizewell C is a project will meet the climate crisis head on while enhancing local biodiversity.