EDF to seek guidance on Sizewell plans after marsh harrier nest found

Marsh Harrier

A marsh harrier nest has been discovered on EDF-owned land at Sizewell - Credit: citizenside.com

Energy firm EDF has said it will liaise with relevant authorities over part of its plans for Sizewell C after a marsh harrier nest was discovered. 

The nest was identified by Sizewell C ornithologists on EDF land within the Sizewell Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the company said. 

Two further nests have also been recorded at Aldhurst Farm, a 67-hectare habitat scheme, which was created in 2014/15. 

EDF said it will liaise with stakeholders, including East Suffolk Council and Natural England, to see what, if any, consequences this has for its planning application for the proposed geotechnical trials on land north of Sizewell B.

How Sizewell C with its twin reactors could look alongside plants A and B on Suffolk's coast

The discovery may have consequences for the proposed geotechnical trials on land north of Sizewell B - Credit: EDF Energy

Dr Stephen Mannings, consents manager for Sizewell C, said: “The discovery of breeding marsh harriers on the EDF Sizewell estate is more evidence of the great care we take in managing our land so that wildlife is able to flourish.

"We have put in place measures to protect the nests, which will remain in place throughout this year’s breeding season.

“We are committed to protecting and promoting local wildlife before, during and after the construction of Sizewell C, which is why we have already created over 250 acres of new habitats on former arable land within our estate.”

EDF said the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Planning Inspectorate have been informed and updates have been made to relevant ecological assessments submitted in support of the application for development consent. 

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This has included an addendum to the Shadow Habitats Regulations Assessment provided for the project, the company said. 

EDF said its environment team of experts, including ornithologists, work closely with the construction team to plan work in sensitive areas, including pre-works surveys to ensure wildlife is protected.

The company's ecologists have defined wide control buffer zone around all nests, within which activities and works are being strictly controlled to avoid visual and noise disturbance.

The energy giant added that only activities and works that are assessed not to be a potential source of disturbance are permitted, and its controls also require monitoring of the behaviours of the birds while permitted works are being undertaken.