The proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant development has the potential to have a major impact on one of the most wildlife-rich areas of the UK.
RSPB Minsmere nature reserve is adjacent to the proposed development site on the Suffolk Coast and has been a nature reserve since 1947. It is one of our flagship sites for both wildlife and visitors. Minsmere forms part of a wider area of the Suffolk Coast widely recognised for its value for wildlife.
The Suffolk Coast is an outstanding location for wildlife and people alike, with a rich and varied mosaic of habitats providing a landscape of wild beauty. It is a safe haven for an amazing variety of wildlife including iconic species such as the bittern, marsh harrier and otter.
It is protected by a number of national and international nature conservation designations. These include:
- SSSI (a type of protected area with special or exceptional wildlife features)
- SPA (European designation for rare and vulnerable birds)
- SAC (European designation designed to protect habitats and wildlife species)
- Ramsar site (for wetlands of international importance)
The site is also only one of five in the United Kingdom to have received the Council of Europe European Diploma for Protected Areas award. A draft resolution for the renewal of this award was approved in March 2019, on the condition that the Sizewell C development doesn’t cause any harm to Minsmere.
The Sizewell estate, which borders RSPB Minsmere to the south, is one of eight sites which have been identified by government as potentially appropriate locations to construct new nuclear power stations. The existing Sizewell nuclear power stations consist of Sizewell A, two reactors now in the process of being decommissioned, and Sizewell B, a single reactor.
The proposals for Sizewell C consist of two reactors to the north of Sizewell B. This will bring the existing development right up to the boundary of Minsmere nature reserve. In addition to the permanent buildings, infrastructure and access roads, there is a significant area of land identified for temporary storage and construction use during the development. If permission is granted, construction is expected to take up to twelve years.
What impact could the development of Sizewell C have on Minsmere?
Our main concerns with the proposed Sizewell C development stem from its proximity to internationally and nationally important and designated wildlife sites, including RSPB Minsmere nature reserve.
You can read more about our specific concerns in the “Our position” section below.