New wildlife habitat to compensate for ‘land-take’ if Sizewell C built

Formal proposals have been submitted to create a new wildlife site to compensate for the loss of internationally-recognised habitat should the Sizewell C nuclear power station be built.

EDF Energy intends to create the habitat – which would benefit a variety of wildlife including water voles, otters, eels, amphibians, reptiles and birds, as well as rare plants – regardless of the outcome for its plans for a new nuclear plant on the Suffolk coast.

It has submitted a planning application to Suffolk Coastal council for the habitat creation scheme on 165 acres of arable land, currently part of Aldhurst Farm, Leiston.

The site extends from Abbey Road to Lover’s Lane, on the edge of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sizewell Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

An EDF spokeswoman said: “EDF Energy is proposing to create the wildlife habitat to help compensate for some limited potential land-take from Sizewell Marshes SSSI should the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station be developed.

“The designated features that would need to be compensated for include reed bed and lowland ditch habitat.

“The creation of this new wetland habitat is being progressed separately and in advance of Sizewell C in order to establish it prior to any potential land-take from the SSSI.

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“The habitat would be created and managed by EDF Energy even if the Sizewell C proposals are not granted development consent.”

About 14 acres of low-lying land in the valley would be lowered to create the conditions needed for wetland habitat.

The excavated soil, which would include peat, would be spread across the surrounding fields to reduce the fertility of the soils and create conditions suitable for the establishment of a mosaic of acidic grassland and heathland over the rest of the site.

Existing ditches within the site would be retained with some minor realignment in places.

Once the new habitat is established, EDF Energy intends to open areas of the site for quiet public recreation that would not compromise biodiversity. Proposals will be brought forward in due course.