Mercy for moths at Dungeness

People from Sussex and Kent may well be breathing a sigh of relief after the announcement that the ten sites earmarked for the new generation of nuclear power stations will not now include Dungeness.

Dungeness was the only one of the sites still under consideration to be rejected because of fears over further potential damage to the fragile ecosystem that exists and possible flooding fears.

Over the last twenty years at least 465 species of larger moth have been recorded within this part of Dungeness, including many nationally scarce and threatened species, such as the Pale Grass Eggar, Pigmy Footman, Light Feathered Rustic and Toadflax Brocade.

Assuming this plan is not subsequently changed it will mean the current station will be decommissioned sometime between now and 2023 and not replaced.

Butterfly Conservation were extremely concerned about a new build Nuclear Power Station at Dungeness due to its potentially significant impact on the biodiversity interest of this internationally important shingle site.

The footprint of this power station would have impacted on the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

In addition it would have taken in habitat currently occupied by the Sussex Emerald moth, an Endangered and UK Biodiversity Action Plan species, which is also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, at its sole UK breeding site.

Mark Parsons, Head of Moth Conservation, said "Dungeness provides an extremely valuable habitat for moths as well as other wildlife, some of which are confined or nearly confined to Dungeness. We would certainly want further loss of this scarce and unusual habitat to be avoided".