3 Feb 15

From unusual birds to beautiful butterflies and wildflowers, there is something for all wildlife enthusiasts in the habitat around Torness nuclear power station.

Most people who think of Torness nuclear power station will picture a big grey industrial plant producing enough electricity to power more than two million homes. But there is more to this well known landmark than meets the eye. It has just been awarded the Biodiversity Benchmark by the Wildlife Trusts for all the hard work done to protect and enhance the unique and diverse wildlife around the East Lothian site.

The EDF Energy power station is right next to the Barns Ness Coast which is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and is teaming with all kinds of special wildlife. You can regularly see yellow wagtails catching insects in the grass verges of the roads next to the station. In fact the birds even breed here.

Two years ago new nest boxes were quickly occupied by some tree sparrows and in the spring there are some very special guests, a pair of peregrine falcons raising their young. During winter the inter-tidal areas of Skateraw Bay attract wading birds like curlews, redshanks and oystercatchers.

It is not just about the birds though. There are wildflowers like northern marsh orchids, bird’s-foot-trefoil and knapweed in the grasslands around the station. There are at least 16 species of butterfly to be seen as well, including the wall brown and small heath species.

Torness nuclear power station director, Paul Winkle is thrilled with the award, “This wildlife survives here thanks to the employees at Torness and with the help of East Lothian Council’s biodiversity team and the countryside ranger service. We work closely together to ensure these fantastic birds and plant life are looked after properly and will be here for people to enjoy for years to come.

“I would recommend a good walk along the Torness coastal walkway which runs between Skateraw Bay and Thorntonloch to see some of this fantastic wildlife. The walkway is part of the John Muir Link footpath.”

Peter Dorans, corporate relations manager for The Wildlife Trusts said “I am delighted that we are able to recognise the fantastic work that EDF Energy has done at Torness. Wild places and our ability to access them are vital to our wellbeing. This award just goes to show that with partnerships and careful management wildlife can thrive, even alongside key energy infrastructure.

“Our assessor was particularly impressed with the work that EDF Energy has done with local farmers to enable them to add to the efforts on site. This site completes the set, every EDF Energy Nuclear Power Station has now achieved The Wildlife Trusts Biodiversity Benchmark. This is no mean feat, it’s a tough standard so very well done to everyone involved”

Christine Blythe, EDF Energy’s biodiversity manager said, “We are very pleased with this fantastic award. Torness is home to some special and rare wildlife. We are committed to protecting and enhancing biodiversity working in partnership with other conservation organisations and this award recognises our work in fulfilling that commitment.

For more information contact:

Lindsey Ingram
Media Officer - Scotland
01355 846283
07813 230379

Notes to editors

The Biodiversity Benchmark enables organisations across the country to assess the standard of their conservation management, improve their environmental management procedures and demonstrate their commitment to enhancing biodiversity in support of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. It is composed of a set of detailed requirements which an organisation must be able to meet.

All seven of EDF Energy’s nuclear power station sites across the UK have now been awarded the Biodiversity Benchmark

Pictures: curlew, wall brown butterfly and northern marsh orchids.

EDF Energy in Scotland

In Scotland EDF Energy operates Hunterston B in North Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian which employ over 1,000 staff and around 500 contracting partners across the two power stations. EDF Energy employs a further 200 office based staff in East Kilbride.  As well as generating enough power to serve some 4 million homes the company also provides gas and electricity to over 80,000 Scottish customers with around half of those opting for one of the company’s Blue+ products which are backed by low-carbon generation. We operate two windfarms in the Scottish Borders and make sure we buy enough electricity generated from a low-carbon nuclear source to match every unit of electricity we estimate our Blue customers use. EDF Energy is proud to power up some of the largest organisations in the UK, including supplying almost all public sector bodies in Scotland with after being awarded Scotland’s largest electricity supply contract by annual volume from April 2013. Following a landmark agreement with Network Rail the company also provides nuclear-backed Blue energy to power up the UKs electric rail network, covering most of the south east of England and the main lines from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the Merseyrail network around Liverpool and the Glasgow suburban network.