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The Government requested and received comments from Natural England-formerly English Nature-on the appraisal of sustainability and habitats regulations assessment reports on the site at Bradwell, which was nominated in the Government's strategic siting assessment process.
I thank the Minister for his response but, even though I am an enthusiast for new nuclear power stations, may I draw his attention to the serious concern expressed to me, particularly by local fishermen and oystermen, that the volume of the outfall from a new power station is likely to be four times greater than that from the previous power station, thus causing serious continuing damage to the ecology of the Blackwater estuary? Can he assure me that that will be addressed, perhaps by ensuring that the intake and outfalls will be sufficiently far away?
The hon. Gentleman has been assiduous in representing the interests of local fishermen and people who are concerned about the impacts on the environment. I can confirm that Natural England's response suggested that there was insufficient evidence that a development at Bradwell could have no adverse impacts on the Natura 2000 sites and associated features. The Government took that on board during the assessment, and the conclusions in the habitats regulations assessment reflect that. Natural England has suggested that further assessment is needed, not least in relation to climate change and rising sea levels, of which he will be aware. I can assure him that I will keep a close eye on the matter, as will Natural England, to ensure that the pertinent factors he raises are taken into account.