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Our response to Sizewell C

Dunwich Heath with a view of the Sizewell B nuclear power station
Dunwich Heath with a view of the Sizewell B nuclear power station | © National Trust Images/Trevor Ray Hart

The National Trust cares for 140 hectares of land at Dunwich Heath and Beach, around 3km north of the proposed Sizewell C site. We believe the development could have significant negative impacts on this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, for visitors, wildlife and the general environment.

Our views on Sizewell C

The government’s decision to approve plans for Sizewell C will impact Dunwich Heath on the Suffolk coast which is cared for by the National Trust, as well as the character and beauty of the wider area. The wildlife of the rare lowland heath and wetland habitats at Dunwich and neighbouring RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve will also be impacted.

We will work to ensure that the developer fulfils its commitments in terms of mitigation and monitoring, as set out in the decision, to ensure the protection of Dunwich Heath during the construction and operation of the nuclear power station.

Areas of potential impact

  • Less access for walking and recreation, especially along the Suffolk Coast Path and Sandlings Walk, and potentially increased numbers of visitors at other nearby places.
  • Threats to wildlife habitats, including ground-nesting birds and protected species, at Dunwich Heath and across the whole Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protected Area (SPA).
  • A negative impact on this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), including the setting and views at Dunwich Heath and Beach.
  • Light pollution, which could be particularly damaging to the dark skies area at Dunwich Heath.
  • The unknown long-term impact on coastal and cliff geomorphology, including under climate change scenarios.
Family walking on a footpath through the heather on Dunwich Heath, Suffolk
There's so much to explore at Dunwich Heath | © National Trust Images/James Fletcher

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 are home to many insects, birds and animals that depend on this specialised heathland.

Our conservation work aims to ensure that Dunwich will continue to provide both an important area for wildlife to thrive and a special place for everyone to enjoy for years to come.

A recognised place of beauty and scientific interest

As well as being part of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the majority of this land is designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar wetlands site.

Dunwich Heath and Beach 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.

Latest updates on our response to Sizewell C

3 June 2021

Our Written Representation submission

After reviewing the information submitted with EDF Energy’s application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for Sizewell C, we have followed up our Relevant Representation to the Planning Inspectorate with a Written Representation. This reiterates our position and concerns, including the potential impact the proposal might have on recreation and tourism, ecology and the landscape and coastline. We are registered as an Interested Party and will engage in the examination process as set out by the Planning Inspectorate. We anticipate the need to review further information from the applicant in response to a number of the matters we and other organisations have raised.

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