Somerset Wildlife Trust is the county’s leading nature conservation charity, supported by 21,500 members. We are working with local communities and our partners to create a Living Landscape across Somerset - a diverse, vibrant, nature-rich environment where wildlife can thrive and people can feel alive. As part of our efforts to stand up for wildlife across the county, we challenge developers and local authorities to achieve the best outcome for nature as part of the planning process.
Impacts to wildlife span land and water
Hinkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station is a complex major infrastructure project, covering a new nuclear generation station and range of associated, supporting development including housing and transport links. The potential impacts to wildlife span land and water, as some of the development and activities likely to cause disturbance will occur near and within the internationally important Severn Estuary. Somerset Wildlife Trust has been a non-statutory consultee on this development, and has rigorously scrutinised the plans for Hinkley Point C throughout the different consultation phases. Since the first report considering possible environmental impacts of the new nuclear generation plant was released to us for comment back in 2008, Somerset Wildlife Trust has strongly advocated EDF take a landscape-scale approach to addressing the serious impacts that such large scale development can have on Somerset’s important species and habitats.
Conservation priority species
Before EDF applied to the Planning Inspectorate for permission to build Hinkley Point C, a series of public consultations were held, during which Somerset Wildlife Trust took the opportunity to highlight concerns about how the development might affect conservation priority species like otter, skylark and barbastelle bats, and important habitats like hedgerows. We made a strong case to EDF that where impacts could not be avoided, they should be mitigated and compensated for straight away by creating new habitat, improving existing habitat, and linking this together so that wildlife can move around the local landscape.
The best deal for Somerset’s precious wildlife
As non-statutory consultees the extent to which we could influence EDFs approach to nature conservation in the new development was limited. Having made our case for the best possible protection of wildlife, and requested the development bring a net benefit to local biodiversity, we have relied upon the Planning Inspectorate and the Government’s nature conservation agency, Natural England, to ensure that HInkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station brings about the best deal for Somerset’s precious wildlife. We hope that with the granting of this Development Consent Order, EDF will take the opportunity to maximise the longer term benefits to local nature they could bring about.
Skylark © Amy Lewis