RSPB encouraging public to 'Love Minsmere' at new festival
PUBLISHED: 20:21 30 August 2019 | UPDATED: 20:21 30 August 2019
A one-day festival will be held next month to celebrate RSPB Minsmere and send a message to those behind the nearby Sizewell C development.
The event will be held on September 15 at the RSPB Minsmere site and is part of the wider 'Love Minsmere' campaign.
Love Minsmere hopes to protect the reserve from any potential damage from the plans to build the Sizewell C nuclear plant.
Work on the campaign began earlier this year and saw 20,000 people write to EDF about their concerns.
Amongst the campaign's supporters was wildlife presenter Chris Packham.
The new festival will aims to further the campaign by celebrating the site and its wildlife, while also sending a message to EDF about hopes for the area's future .
The event will coincide with the fourth round of consultation currently being held by EDF into the construction of the new twin nuclear reactor, which finishes on September 27.
Jeff Knott, RSPB regional director for eastern England said "Our first-ever Love Minsmere Festival is an important event which will celebrate the reserve, its rare wildlife, and send a powerful message to EDF that we all Love Minsmere and want to see it protected from the impacts of Sizewell C.
"As highlighted in the Government's National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation (EN-6), Sizewell C could have detrimental impacts on internationally and nationally important landscapes, habitats and species of the Suffolk coast and at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve.
"Minsmere means so much to so many people. Earlier in the year during EDF's Stage 3 consultation, over 20,000 people wrote to EDF to tell them how much they Love Minsmere and that they want to see the reserve and its wildlife protected.
"Now we need to communicate the Love Minsmere message to EDF again during the Stage 4 consultation in a clear and powerful way."
As part of the events on the day, organisers are hoping to recreate the outline of the Love Minsmere heart on Whin Hill.
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"We will be creating the outline of the Love Minsmere love heart on Whin Hill at 1pm, one of the reserve's most amazing viewpoints with the Sizewell estate in the background," said Mr Knott.
"To make this performance a successful and powerful visual reminder to EDF that we Love Minsmere, we need you, and 999 other Love Minsmere campaigners, to come down and take part."
What have EDF said?
Katy McGuinness, environment lead for Sizewell C, said: "Since Stage 3 consultation, which closed earlier this year, we have held regular workshops involving the Environment Agency, Natural England, the local planning authorities, the RSPB and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, to look closely at how to minimise the impact of building Sizewell C on the local environment.
"We are incredibly mindful of the sensitive environment we are working in and want to ensure we fully understand local issues.
"Our technical workshops are giving us room to talk through the development and refinement of our proposals and a wide range of issues from managing groundwater levels during construction, to how we can light the site sensitively and create off site compensatory habitats to ensure protected bird species such as the Marsh Harrier have enough foraging land.
"Through the workshops we have identified an area to the north east of the development site that may be suitable to create an environment for Marsh Harrier foraging.
"This is important as it could be used if the birds do not access the Sizewell Marshes SSSI during the construction of Sizewell C.
"Some of this land has already been taken out of agricultural use as the first step in establishing a suitable foraging area.
"This complements our work at Aldhurst Farm where we have created a wildlife habitat spanning 67 hectare site and includes 6 hectares of wet reed habitat and extensive reedbeds and interconnecting ditch habitat and heathland which is already yielding good results."