The Observer wants to tell us that the Sizewell C nuclear stations will do something very bad:
Nuclear power station could destroy wildlife haven I’ve loved since childhood
Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?
Naturalist Stephen Moss was 13 when he first saw the RSPB reserve in Minsmere, Suffolk. Now he fears plans for Sizewell C could wipe it out
So naturally I am worried that this unique place could be ruined by the proposed building of Sizewell C nuclear power station, a few hundred metres down the coast.
One little problem with this being that there have been nuclear power stations “a few hundred metres” (perhaps more like 1 km) away since Sizewell A started operating in 1966. We’re not exactly talking about a huge change in the environment hereabouts therefore.
We could even ponder whether using renewables to generate a few gigawatts of electricity might require more land than the 300 odd hectares a nuclear power station needs. That’s before we consider that one form, windmills, is colloquially known as birdchoppers.
But the real lesson to take from this:
Yet the name Minsmere might have remained obscure were it not for a quirk of military history. During the second world war, there were very real fears of a Nazi invasion across the North Sea. To create a barrier against a seaborne attack, farmland along the Suffolk coast was deliberately flooded and this accidentally created an ideal home for wetland birds.
Two years after the end of the conflict, in 1947, avocets returned to breed in the UK after an absence of more than a century. They did so at Minsmere, and this led the RSPB to lease (and eventually buy) the land from local owners and turn it into a nature reserve.
We don’t actually have to be at, nor to go war against, anyone to gain such precious nature reserves. Instead, just stop building sea walls and wait a few decades. That is, this avian heaven is rather easy to create and thus we can have just about as much of it as we desire whenever we do so. A particular piece of it therefore isn’t an impenetrable barrier to our gaining other things we also desire therefore - like, you know, heat, light, power, those sorts of things.