Next stage of planning process for Anglesey site postponed as effect on tern colonies is assessed
Mon 9 Apr 2018 13.57 BSTLast modified on Mon 9 Apr 2018 22.00 BST
Plans for a nuclear power station on the Welsh island of Anglesey have been delayed by concerns over the plant’s impact on colonies of protected seabirds.
The proposed twin reactors at Wylfa were given the green light by the UK’s nuclear regulator in December, with backers hoping to win financial support from the government.
The Welsh plant would have a capacity of 3GW, similar to the 3.2GW of the nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Hitachi, told planning authorities it would submit its planning application for the Wylfa plant by the end of March, which it called a “major milestone”.
But the company postponed submitting the development consent order because it needs to thrash out the impact building the power station will have on colonies of sandwich, Arctic and common terns.
The species are protected under the EU birds and habitats directive.
Nearby Cemlyn nature reserve is home to thousands of sandwich terns, which account for about fifth of the birds’ UK population and is the biggest on the country’s west coast.
Wildlife groups are concerned about the effect of noise and light from the power station’s construction, as well as a reduction in food for the birds to forage on. Land clearance for the vast site is also expected to displace potential predators, such as rats and foxes.
Chris Wynne, a senior reserve officer at North Wales Wildlife Trust, said: “We are looking at a range of ecological impacts at one of the most significant tern colonies in the UK.”