Bradwell B proposed nuclear power station

Tagged with: Casework status: Open Casework type: Construction Casework type: Energy Casework type: Marine Site designations: Ramsar site Site designations: SAC Site designations: SPA Site designations: SSSI
Dark-bellied Brent Geese | The RSPB flock over the Essex coast


Bradwell B is a proposed nuclear power station near the village of Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.

This new development has the potential to significantly harm the globally important wildlife of the Blackwater Estuary and the Dengie Peninsula. This wild, open landscape supports tens of thousands of wintering birds including dark-bellied brent geese, bar-tailed godwits and grey plovers. In the summer, the Blackwater is home to important populations of ringed plovers and little terns. 
The site directly borders, and in places overlaps, areas protected by multiple national and international nature conservation designations. These include: 
• Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) – the UK’s most important wildlife sites 

• Special Protection Areas (SPAs) – a European designation designed to protect rare, vulnerable and migratory birds

• Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) – a European designation that protects important habitats and wildlife species

• Ramsar site - recognised wetlands of international importance
Bradwell is one of eight sites which have been identified by the Government as potentially appropriate locations to construct new nuclear power stations. Bradwell B would sit next to the former station (Bradwell A) which ceased operating in 2002. 
The Government’s own initial sustainability appraisal of the Bradwell B site acknowledged that “there is the potential for adverse effects on sites and species considered to be of European nature conservation importance”.

Its initial assessment of impacts on the European designated sites also highlighted that the proposal would “encroach directly on the margins of the Essex Estuaries SAC and the Blackwater Estuary SPA/Ramsar and the Dengie Estuary SPA/Ramsar sites" while recognising that these sites are already “under threat from the effects of coastal squeeze which has been identified as a problem in the area.”  
We will be closely following the progress of this development, updating this page and sharing our response to the public consultations. 

Why is it worth fighting for?

The Blackwater Estuary is a Premier League site for birds. One of the top 20 most important sites in the UK and recognised internationally for its significant habitats and wildlife.

The remote landscape of saltmarsh, mudflats and open fields provides food and shelter for tens of thousands of geese, ducks and wading birds every winter. The planned site of Bradwell B is vitally important for large flocks of dark-bellied brent geese that migrate here in the autumn from their Siberian breeding grounds. Stretching out from the coast, the Dengie Flats teem with incredibly important numbers of bar-tailed godwits, golden plovers, grey plovers and knots.

In the summer, the shingle ridges around the coast host breeding ringed plovers and little terns, the jingling song of one of our rarest farmland birds – the corn bunting – can be heard in the wheat and barley, whilst the elusive bearded tits inhabit the reedy ditches.

We are currently facing twin threats of a climate emergency and a global biodiversity collapse. It is important that developments are built in harmony with nature – this means the right technology in the right place. We cannot keep trying to squeeze nature into smaller and smaller spaces or demand that wildlife fits in with our plans.

Dunlin Waders roosting | The RSPB

Our position

The RSPB is extremely concerned about the potential impact of the proposed Bradwell B nuclear power station on the wildlife of the Blackwater Estuary. The extensive areas of saltmarsh, mudflats and coastal shingle are of outstanding importance all year round. 

We wait with interest to learn precisely how the developer BRB (a partnership of CGN and EDF), is going to build this nuclear power station without negatively affecting the rich birdlife of this special place.

In the current ecological emergency, it is more important than ever that all developments fully protect our fragile wildlife and ensure that it is not put under further pressure. 

Bradwell B map

To find out more, pick a marker from the map or zoom in.


    • Summer 2020 
      BRB will begin processing all feedback received during Stage 1 of the consultation and use this to inform the development of their proposals. Developed proposals and preferred options will be released in Stage 2 of the consultation (dates yet to be determined) along with information on how the feedback shaped the proposals.

    • 1 July 2020 
      Stage 1 of the consultation on the initial Bradwell B proposals closed.

    • 4 March 2020 
      Stage 1 of the consultation on the initial Bradwell B proposals opened.

    • 2017-2018
      The pre-application stage began; this stage often lasts for several years and involves consultation and evidence gathering. Investigative work and surveys began on the site.

    • 2011 
      The Bradwell B site was identified by the Government as one of eight preferred sites for a new nuclear power station.  

    How you can help

    Speak up for nature by becoming an RSPB Campaign Champion. 

    We’ll give you guidance and support to fight for the issues you care about, plus opportunities to take action online and in your community.