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.
Our e-action success
Over 104,000 people took action to protect nature and Love Minsmere. This support has been amazing and shows how many people sharing the RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s concerns over Sizewell C’s impacts on nature.
The story so far to #LoveMinsmere
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.
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.
An amazing 104,836 people stepped up and signed our e-action - this helped to show the Planning Inspectorate how many of us Love Minsmere. Please see our Written Representations submitted during the Examination which included a summary of the Love Minsmere campaign and the fantastic support it received.
#LoveMinsmere has been supported by Chris Packham, 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?
EDF’s Development Consent Order application for Sizewell C was accepted by the Planning Inspectorate in June 2020, for further examination.
View our Relevant Representation (which summarises our key areas of concern) and find out more details about the planning process here.
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, and some of our key submissions can be found on our Sizewell C case work page.
We expect that the Examining Authority will issue their report to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy by the 14th January 2022. After this the Secretary of State has 3 further months in which to make the decision (they may ask further questions of the Applicant or Interested Parties at this stage). We therefore expect a decision by 14th April 2022.
We have put all we can into engaging with the Examination process to achieve the best outcome for nature and are pleased that progress was made on some issues, however, we remain of the view that Sizewell C should not be consented due to its potentially serious impacts on nature.
Minsmere: In pictures
Keep up to date with the case and the progress of the application.