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Fresh fears for Minsmere as PM prepares special environment speech

PUBLISHED: 07:30 12 November 2020

Fears have been voiced over the impact of Sizewell C on RSPB Minsmere PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Fears have been voiced over the impact of Sizewell C on RSPB Minsmere PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

RACHEL EDGE

Guardians of one of Britain’s most precious habitats are waiting to see how Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan for the environment will affect their Suffolk site.

Sunset at Minsmere  Picture: FRANCES CRICKMORE/IWITNESSSunset at Minsmere Picture: FRANCES CRICKMORE/IWITNESS

The RSPB is worried that Government is on the verge of giving the go ahead to Sizewell C – as suggested by national media reports – and says this could “irreversibly damage” the internationally-protected Minsmere nature reserve.

Some commentators believe Mr Johnson will announce the importance of future nuclear energy development in his upcoming speech on the environment.

RSPB’s chief executive Beccy Speight said: “The Government has committed to protect 30% of the UK’s land by 2030 to boost biodiversity, so allowing the destruction of one of the most nature rich places we already have in the UK would be a crazy decision.

“If EDF were to be given permission to build a brand-new twin nuclear reactor slap bang on the border of a globally important wildlife haven, then we believe that contrary to the ambition set out by this Government, nowhere in the UK is sacred anymore.

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“The Government has stated that we are in an ecological emergency as well as a climate emergency and it simply cannot afford to waste taxpayers’ money destroying flagship reserves which mean so much to wildlife and people.”

Minsmere is home to 6,000 species and widely acknowledged as one of Europe’s most important wildlife sites and has legal protection at both national and international level.

The RSPB fears protected animals including otters, water voles, marsh harriers, bats and many more could be affected, along with the Sizewell Marshes SSSI and the marine environment.

Ms Speight added: “We could be witnessing the horrors of HS2 all over again, wasting taxpayers’ money on destroying irreplaceable homes for nature. If Sizewell C was to be built, it should come as no surprise to us all that we would once again be witnessing chainsaws and diggers decimating precious habitats which are not only important to wildlife, but to people’s health and wellbeing too.

“We urge the Government to think again.”

DEFRA has been approached for comment.


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