Bill Turnbull warns of wildlife 'destruction' if Sizewell C is built

Bill Turnbull on Sizewell beach Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Journalist Bill Turnbull, who lives in Suffolk, has outlined his opposition to Sizewell C - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Suffolk-based journalist Bill Turnbull has told a Planning Inspectorate hearing on Sizewell C of the "danger and destruction" faced by wildlife if the project is approved.

EDF Energy's proposals to build a new £20billion nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast have been discussed this week in a four-day public hearing. 

Mr Turnbull, who presented BBC Breakfast for 15 years, had previously outlined his opposition to the project due to its scale, impact on tourism and the environment.

He told Friday's Planning Inspectorate hearing that construction of the station would affect the wildlife living on the coast - including owls, cuckoos, bitterns and nightingales at RSPB Minsmere.

Sizewell A and Sizewell B nuclear power plants - EDF hopes to have Sizewell C sitting alongside Pict

Sizewell A and Sizewell B nuclear power plants - EDF hopes to have Sizewell C sitting alongside - Credit: Su Anderson

Mr Turnbull said: "I am speaking more in sorrow than protest for I fear this precious corner of Suffolk will fall victim to the most awful devastation.

"I want to talk about the devastation faced by those who have no voice and can reap no benefit whatsoever, only danger and destruction - the rare and abundant wildlife that inhabits the land.

"What message would it send to build a twin nuclear reactor in the middle of an area of outstanding natural beauty? If Sizewell C gets the go-ahead, then nowhere is safe."

Alison Downes, executive director of campaign group Stop Sizewell C, also spoke in Friday's hearing.

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C

Alison Downes, from the Stop Sizewell C campaign, spoke in the public hearing - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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She criticised EDF's handling of the consultation process and said there was a lack of "clear evidence basis" for the proposals.

Ms Downes described Sizewell C as "the wrong project, at the wrong time, in the wrong place".

She added: "Our three main reasons for opposing the project are because of its destructive impact on the area's economy, communities and environment, because it does answer the government's policy imperatives and the appalling track record of EDF's cost overruns and delays.

"We believe that a project as destructive as Sizewell C to be consented in such a fragile, protected place, it would need to have 100%, cast-iron justification."

EDF has pledged to offset the environmental impact of the Sizewell C project with a range of schemes - including the creation of fen meadows.

In March, independent researchers estimated that the Sizewell C project would bring a £2bn boost to Suffolk's economy.

The government will have the final say on whether the proposals will be given the go-ahead.

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