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Sizewell C nuclear plan puts iconic British nature reserve in danger

The battle of nature versus nuclear: will Sizewell C destroy Minsmere nature reserve?    Sophie Atherton   Telegraph 22nd Sept 2019  Almost anywhere you walk at the RSPB’s Minsmere nature reserve, you get a view of the Sizewell nuclear power stations. They are a curiously ambivalent landmark, a somewhat menacing presence on the skyline, but also lending a moody, sci-fi edge to the landscape – especially on grey days when the dome of Sizewell B seems to appear and disappear depending on the passing clouds. It’s impossible not to notice the industrial behemoths, but because Minsmere is such a carnival of wildlife, you can, to a degree, ignore them. For now.

However, French energy company EDF and partner China General Nuclear Power Corporation want to build a nuclear power station to the north of the two already there.

Almost anywhere you walk at the RSPB’s Minsmere nature reserve, you get a  view of the Sizewell nuclear power stations. EDF and partner China General  Nuclear Power Corporation want to build a nuclear power station to the north of the two already there. Construction is due to start in 2021 and
going on for 10 to 12 years. “The plans EDF have shared have tried to indicate that the visual impact won’t be that great because of this bank of woodland,” says Rowlands, gesturing to a line of trees beyond the water overlooked by the Island Mere bird hide. “We’re trying to ascertain what
that means in reality.

I think at Hinkley – which they are modelling this station on – it’s something like 56 cranes at the peak of the construction but what does that look like – and even if the visual is somewhat obscured,
how does the noise travel? How does that affect the wildlife if it becomes more noisy?” The RSPB feels that EDF’s plans for Sizewell C throw up as many questions as answers and is concerned about the lack of information on the environmental impact of such a huge construction project so close to sites that are internationally renowned for their wildlife importance.

As well as the power station itself, building it requires new roads (for the daily journeys of hundreds of HGV lorries), a new rail link, a double-deck car park for 1,500 vehicles and several three and four-storey accommodation blocks providing 2,400 bed spaces for workers.

That’s merely a flavour, rather than an exhaustive list, of what will happen to this Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty – on supposedly protected land – if Sizewell C goes ahead. One of the things that makes Minsmere so remarkable is that it has such a variety of different habitats. Some nature reserves are predominantly one type of landscape, but Minsmere has everything. The fate
of its reed beds, wet grassland, scrapes and lagoons, woodland, heath, vegetated shingle and beyond that the sea, along with all the thousands of species that live there, are all inextricably interconnected.

It is like a microcosm of the whole of the UK’s ecology. If one part is damaged, the whole will be affected as creatures and plants lose the conditions and then the food they need to survive.

Nuclear power is supposed to be a part of the UK’s plans for phasing out fossil fuels and moving to sustainable, eco-friendly, renewable energy sources. But if a new power station threatens to destroy the very things we are trying to protect, we have to consider carefully where to put it.

The latest stage of the Sizewell C public consultation closes on Sept 27. Details of how to respond can be found at sizewellc.co.uk

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/life/battle-nature-versus-nuclear-will-sizewell-c-destroy-minsmere/

September 24, 2019 - Posted by | environment, UK

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