Sizewell C – what now for wildlife?

Main image: RSPB protesting outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London, May 2022 

Work has started this week on preparing works access for the construction of Sizewell C. For years the RSPB and our hundreds of thousands of supporters tried repeatedly to ensure the construction of the nuclear plant was done in a way that safeguarded nationally and internationally important wildlife populations along the Suffolk Coast. Not least, we wanted to make sure our flagship nature reserve at RSPB Minsmere was not damaged.   

Working with our partners, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, we did achieve a number of successes to ensure that ecological mitigation and compensation measures were strengthened to protect nature, but overall, we believe the measures did not go far enough and therefore we continued to object to the scheme. 

However, despite all our efforts, and those of many other organisations and groups, the scheme was given the green light by the UK Government. We believe that wildlife will be damaged during the lengthy construction period and will be in a worse state once development is completed. And it never had to be this way – the RSPB has long worked with developers who understand the need to put in place the right package of measures to make sure wildlife does not come off worse following developments such as this. And surely such a high-profile construction as this should be an exemplar of good practice?  

But here we are, and the diggers are on the site. So, what now for wildlife and the RSPB?   

Over the coming years our key priority is to ensure the work done does as little damage as possible.  Some of this will involve making sure that the creation of new habitats in compensation for the loss of old ones is done to the very highest standards. Not just now, but a long way into the future. We also need to ensure that work on site is done in a way that is sympathetic to nature and following best practice.  

To reiterate, this situation is far from ideal. It’s not the outcome we wanted and fought for. To quote EDF energy from their ‘Sizewell C and the environment’ leaflet currently on their website: “Sizewell C will not be built at the expense of nature.” We believe sadly, the opposite will be true – but we will continue to do what we can for nature, as we always do. 

Thank you for your support.  

  • Legal action was taken at that time, but I don't think that the RSPB submission would have actually made a difference. The Government seem hell bent on overcoming, overruling and sidestepping in order to push this through. It is a very flawed project, with many problems yet to be solved, so I'm not entirely sure why.  (NB Cumbrian Tory MPs lobbied to build next to Sellafield, where there is a huge need for jobs and investment, but were shouted down.  Why?). Don't get angry with the RSPB - take action yourself and object.  It's not too late.

  • Sizewell C is not a done deal, despite what this blog suggests. 'The diggers are on site' is just the latest episode of the stealthy creep of the Government trying to push this through, no matter what.They are doing a bit more prep work, not building the power station. However, there are still large obstacles blocking the way before this can happen - not the least of which is that there is no funding.  If you are appalled by this project, and wish to do everything you can to help stop it, then there are several ways to object. Various links to evidence (which can be verified) and ways to object can be found on the websites of two local campaign groups, Stop Sizewell C and Together Against Sizewell C. If you don't wish your money (taxes) to be used to help destroy this internationally protected and precious environment, then take action.  Oh, and don't be taken in by the 'It's Green/It's Clean/it has to go somewhere' messaging. Check the facts. Please object.

  • On 1 September 2022 we announced our intention to apply for leave to Judicial Review the Government's Sizewell C decision. Most unfortunately, we were later informed that our paperwork was submitted a day late. With the challenging nature of the reduced time limit and having to do this over the summer holiday period, we got our timings wrong. We were obviously devastated, and sincerely apologised to those who had supported us throughout the whole process. We remain committed to getting the best possible outcome for nature from this and any future damaging proposals.

  • I still have no idea on how RSPB Minsmere missed the deadline to take legal action! So unless I get to know how that happened! I know who to blame!