Our response to the Sizewell C stage 3 consultation

Sizewell nuclear power station from Dunwich Heath

The National Trust cares for 140 hectares of land at Dunwich Heath and Beach, which is located approximately 3km north of the proposed Sizewell C site. Whilst not abutting the site, it is directly within the zone of influence and given the elevated position of Dunwich Heath overlooking Minsmere towards Sizewell, the National Trust considers that the proposed development would give rise to significant direct and indirect impacts on its land.

About Dunwich Heath             

Dunwich Heath is a surviving fragment of lowland heath – one of the UK’s rarest habitats. Its sweeping slopes of heather and gorse, sandy soil and acid grassland support many insects, birds and animals which depend on this specialised heathland habitat. Conservation work continues to ensure that land at Dunwich continues to provide both an important space for wildlife to thrive and a special place for everybody to enjoy for years to come.

Dunwich Heath has a number of statutory designations. In addition to falling within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and being designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the majority of the site is also designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA) and RAMSAR site.

It also falls within the defined Suffolk Heritage Coast. The National Trust is working with Natural England on their proposals to create an English Coast Path, which will pass through land owned by the Trust and has been working collaboratively with a number of partner organisations in developing responses to the proposals for Sizewell C.

Our response to the Sizewell C stage 3 consultation

Below, you can find a list summarising the key points made in the National Trust’s response to EDF’s stage 3 consultation. Overall, our position is that given the number and extent of the designations on the land within the ownership of the National Trust, it is clear that this is a fragile and vulnerable environment. Therefore, a clear understanding of the impacts, grounded in evidence will need to be provided by the developer with plans for risk avoidance or mitigation. 

  • Despite the comments made by the National Trust in previous rounds of consultation, the current consultation still lacks a significant amount of detailed information to enable an appropriate level of assessment of the proposed impacts of the project. This information should be provided demonstrating a clear evidenced response to the numerous concerns around environmental impacts, and a further consultation should be carried out prior to the submission of the Development Consent Order.
  • There is insufficient design, technical and scientific information to assess the impacts of the development on coastal processes for the whole of the developments life span, taking into account climate change and sea level rise. There could be significant and long-lasting impacts on National Trust coastline.
  • The displacement of recreational activity from Sizewell to Dunwich Heath may give rise to unacceptable impacts upon habitats, ground nesting birds and footpaths. No detailed assessment has yet been carried out.
  • A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) has not yet been undertaken and there is insufficient design information to enable a full assessment of the construction and operational impacts of the development on the landscape (in particular views from Dunwich Heath and Beach), the special qualities of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the character of the Heritage Coast.
  • The National Trust objects to the proposed pylons and power lines due to the detrimental impact they would have on the landscape.
  • Survey work and an assessment of the impacts upon amenity and tourism have not yet been undertaken. The National Trust is concerned about the impacts of additional pressure on visitor infrastructure at Dunwich Heath.
  • The disruption and diversion of the Suffolk Coast Path and Sandlings Walk will have an adverse impact upon recreational amenity.
  • Concern is raised about dust on designated features, but an assessment has not yet been carried out.
  • Concern is raised about the cumulative impact of the construction and operation of Sizewell C in combination with other planned on-shore and off-shore major infrastructure in terms of landscape/visual impacts, coastal processes, construction programmes and the perception of the character of the coast. No detailed assessment or analysis has been carried out.
  • The National Trust is concerned about impacts upon tranquillity and light pollution. Particularly on the dark skies at Dunwich Heath.