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RSPB urges supporters to take up ‘last chance’ for say on Sizewell C

PUBLISHED: 16:00 02 January 2019

Bittern at Minsmere  Picture: MATTHEW LAST

Bittern at Minsmere Picture: MATTHEW LAST

Wildlife experts are worried that development of a new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast could have a “major adverse environmental impact” on one of the country’s most important bird habitats.

The Scrape at Minsmere Picture: PAUL GEATERThe Scrape at Minsmere Picture: PAUL GEATER

The RSPB’s warning comes on the eve of the release of new details about the proposals for the Sizewell C twin reactor close to the RSPB Minsmere reserve.

EDF Energy will begin its Stage 3 consultation on the massive £14billion project on Friday – releasing details of progress on key issues and the plans as a whole as it moves towards a submission to Government for consent.

Like many organisations, the RSPB is eager to see the details and is calling on its supporters to ensure they make their voice heard.

The society says the plans it has seen over the past six years leave it to fear that Sizewell C has the “potential to have a major adverse environmental impact” on an area of the Suffolk Coast recognised for its value for wildlife, and protected by a range of national and international nature conservation designations.

A spokesman said: “We do not yet know what new environmental information and evidence will be provided in the Stage 3 consultation, but as more environmental information becomes available we will assess the ecological impacts and we will object if these assessments are inadequate or the impacts are unacceptable.

“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 12 years.”

The RSPB’s concerns include loss of habitat, the possible impact on the hydrology of Minsmere, affecting water levels in the ditches and the groundwater, and noise and light pollution from construction work disturbing wildlife, including rare species.

It says Stage 3 is the last chance for people to raise concerns and is urging supporters to do so.

EDF says the consultation will last 12 weeks and feedback will be taken into consideration before the final plan is submitted.

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