Minsmere RSPB Reserve, general view of Boomacre Mere

Love Minsmere

Minsmere reserve is recognised as one of Europe’s most important areas for nature and biodiversity. Yet, the much-loved reserve faces potentially significant harmful impacts from EDF’s proposed new nuclear power station, Sizewell C.

Close up view of a great bittern, side on, moving through a golden reedbed habitat, against a dark background

There are 6000 reasons to #LoveMinsmere

RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve is one of Europe’s most important places for wildlife, home to over 6,000 different species. On 19 May 2022, RSPB staff demonstrated outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London, to protest against the decision to build the Sizewell C power station at the proposed site.

 

A unique bespoke book was created for the demonstration, listing the 6,000+ species that call Minsmere home. The species listed in this book were read out loud as part of the event – a reminder of all of the species at the nature reserve that could be affected if the power station were to proceed. A PDF of the book can be downloaded and viewed below.

LoveMinsmere Live Stream

Watch a recording from Westminster, of the event at which we took a stand and shared our message with Kwasi Kwarteng.

Group of people, wearing "Love Minsmere" tops, standing outside of Westminster, holding signs encouraging Minister Kwasi Kwarteng to "Do the right thing" and "protect it from harm by Sizewell C". Avocet stensils have also been sprayed around on the pavement in front of the group, in white and blue paint.

The #LoveMinsmere story

With more than 6,000 different species recorded on the reserve, RSPB Minsmere is one of the most wildlife-rich nature reserves in the UK. Some of the UK’s rarest birds, such as marsh harriers and bitterns, have only avoided extinction in the UK after surviving in Minsmere’s reedbeds.

Avocets – the bird that appears on the RSPB’s logo – started breeding again in the UK at Minsmere in 1947 after an absence of more than 100 years and continue to thrive. 

 

However, the Sizewell Estate, on the southern boundary of Minsmere, is where EDF plan to build a new nuclear power station, Sizewell C. This could be catastrophic for wildlife. The building work may increase erosion, upsetting the delicate balance of the reserve. It could affect the water levels in Minsmere’s ditches, impacting its rare wetland wildlife, which includes bitterns, otters and ducks. Once the construction is in progress, it may increase levels of noise and light pollution. Rare marsh harriers, breeding ducks and geese and wading birds are very sensitive to this. The effects will be long-term. 

Our campaign

EDF have held five public consultations from 2012 to 2020 on their proposals for Sizewell C. The RSPB were heavily involved in each consultation stating our concerns for nature. 

 

In 2019 we launched our #LoveMinsmere campaign which saw an incredible 20,419 of you take action and write to EDF stating why you love Minsmere and why the reserve must be protected. Your support was seen again at the #LoveMinsmere Festival which saw over 1000 people gather on Whin Hill, site of the BBC Springwatch studio, to form an outline of the #LoveMinsmere love heart with Sizewell in the background. This sent a visual message to EDF that the reserve must be protected.

 

Then, in November 2020 Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin launched the RSPB’s and Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s new #LoveMinsmere e-action during a live online event, #LoveMinsmere Live. We called on supporters to take make nature’s voice stronger in the planning process. On February 15 the e-action closed. 

#LoveMinsmere has also been supported by Bill Turnbull, Michaela Strachan, Mike Dilger, Alison Steadman, Anthony Horowitz, Iolo Williams, Emma Kennedy, Miranda Krestovinkoff, Dr Amir Khan and Love Island’s Jack Fincham.

What happens now?

On 20 July 2022 the Government approved plans for Sizewell C.  

Beccy Speight, Chief Executive Officer RSPB, said “It is extremely disappointing to learn that the Government has approved plans for Sizewell C, the proposed new nuclear power station that will affect our nature reserve at Minsmere in Suffolk. 
 
“We are dismayed that the decision by this interim Government goes against the advice of the Examiners and their own experts in this matter. 
 
“The construction of the proposed development will be damaging and it has been granted with insufficient consideration for the effects on nature as described by the governments own experts. This is a ludicrous decision for an interim government to make. 
 
“We will be fully reviewing the reasons for the decision and will consider our options. We thank everyone who has supported and worked with us throughout the planning process and we will continue to do all we can for Minsmere and Suffolk’s important wildlife.” 

Otter at Minsmere

Timeline

  • June 2020: EDF’s Development Consent Order application for Sizewell C was accepted by the Planning Inspectorate in June 2020 for further examination. 
  • April 2021: Once the Examination started on 15th April 2021, we made regular written submissions and spoke at hearings about our concerns. The Examination closed on 14th October 2021. Our submissions can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website.  
  • May 2022: RSPB staff held a demonstration outside the Department for Energy, Business and Industrial Strategy building in London, protesting against the building of Sizewell C at the proposed site. 
  • July 2022: The Government announced the decision to approve the application to build Sizewell C. 

Our Relevant Representation (which summarises our key areas of concern) is available to view on our Sizewell C webpage. More details about the planning process can be found here