Sizewell C has submitted a planning application for permission to create additional wetland habitat for wildlife.
The application has been submitted in response to representations made by the RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust during the public examination of the Sizewell C development consent order which is currently being considered by the Secretary of State with a decision expected to be made by 8 July. The habitat will further enhance the 47 Ha of new foraging habitat already created for Marsh Harriers.
The new wetland is in addition to the successful habitat creation scheme, Aldhurst Farm, a 67hectare site which Sizewell C established 5 years ago and is already home to nesting marsh harriers.
The Proposed Development is to create and maintain approximately 4.52 ha of high-quality wetland habitat comprising a mosaic of wet reedbed incorporating 20-30% open-water and 1km of lowland ditch habitat in a single groundwater fed basin that supports a characteristic assemblage of vascular wetland plant and animal species. The wet reedbed would grade into dry reedbed and tussocky grassland around the margins of the basin.
We have written to local residents to inform them of the work and the timeframe for construction, which will involve a peak of up to 115 workers, from mid-September 2022 to late February 2023. At the peak of construction it is estimated that there would be approximately 16 two-way HGV movements per day via the northern access road from Eastbridge Road (i.e. 8 HGVs in each direction) and approximately 4-6 two-way HGV movements per day via the southern access road using bridleway 19. Measures for managing traffic safely will be put in place over this period of time.
It is important to note that these works will be taking place before any of the other construction activities for Sizewell C. They will be taking place on the northernmost part of the site. Once these works are complete then the rest of construction activity for Sizewell C, if permitted, will take place south of Eastbridge.
Stephen Mannings, Environmental lead for Sizewell C, said:
“This proposed wetland, which would be created and maintained as a permanent feature within the EDF Sizewell estate, will benefit a wide range of rare and notable species, including water vole, otter, amphibians, invertebrates, and birds, including foraging, and breeding, marsh harriers. The habitat is being created in response to representations made by the RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust during the examination for Sizewell C and, subject to planning, will enhance the setting of the AONB locally and create an additional area for the local community to enjoy.”
Sizewell C is committed to protecting wildlife and maximising opportunities for biodiversity net gain in the construction and operation of Sizewell C. Marsh harriers started nesting within the new reedbed created by Sizewell C at Aldhurst Farm within a few years of being created, and they have nested there every year since.