The government is expected to fail its first major domestic test because of its stated commitment to the environment ahead of an upcoming Prime Minister’s speech.
A recent public relations charm offensive by energy company EDF, which praised the environmental friendliness of its proposals to build the Sizewell C nuclear reactor, appears to be swaying government opinion, even though the project could cause irreversible damage to one of the UK’s most important and best protected wildlife sites. Rumor has it that the Prime Minister will announce the importance of the future development of nuclear energy in his upcoming 10-point speech on the environment.
RSPB Director General Beccy Speight said: “The government is committed to protecting 30% of UK land by 2030 in order to promote biodiversity. So destroying one of the most natural places we already have in the UK would be a crazy decision issue. The Prime Minister must not let EDF pull the wool over their eyes, what a harmful project that would be.
Tern, Copyright Glyn Sellors, from the Surfbirds Galleries
“If EDF were to get permission to build a brand new double nuclear reactor bang on the border of a world-wide nature reserve, then we believe that contrary to the ambitions set by this government, nowhere in Britain is more sacred. The government has stated that we are facing both an environmental and a climatic emergency and simply cannot afford to waste taxpayers money destroying flagship reserves that mean so much to wildlife and humans. “
The RSPB has waited over a decade for EDF Energy to provide them with evidence that RSPB Minsmere will not be irrevocably damaged if the energy giant builds Britain’s newest white elephant: Sizewell C. That evidence never materialized and EDF continues to try to paint the one Developing as environmentally friendly despite evidence to the contrary.
Minsmere is home to a whopping 6000 species and is considered one of the most important wildlife sites in Europe. It is legally protected at both national and international level. Protected animals that are home to the Suffolk coast such as otters, voles, swamp harrows, bats and many more could fall victim to this huge infrastructure project, and legally protected land, Sizewell Marshes SSSI, could be built right on top of it. Concerns extend to marine life as well, with suggestions that the waters off the beaches could warm and poisonous chemicals could be pumped into the ocean along with worrying numbers of dead fish.
Beccy Speight continued, “We could relive the horrors of HS2, wasting taxpayers money destroying irreplaceable homes for nature. If Sizewell C is to be built, it should come as no surprise to us that we will again witness chainsaws and excavators decimating valuable habitats that are important not only to wildlife but also to human health and wellbeing. Trying to recover from a zoonotic pandemic only adds to the bitter irony of the situation. We urge the government to think again. “