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14th September 2015

Beach clean to protect Cumbria’s marine wildlife

NuGen is arranging a community beach clean at Seascale Beach in a bid to create a better environment for marine wildlife – including Myrtle, the company’s famous adopted leatherback turtle.

The leatherback turtle - which has been named ‘Myrtle’ by NuGen staff - is extremely rare around the shores of the UKDuring NuGen’s recent environmental assessment work, the rare five-foot leatherback sea turtle was spotted off St Bees Head in West Cumbria.

Named ‘Myrtle’ by NuGen staff – the turtle became a star following media coverage by ITV and BBC. Leatherbacks are extremely rare around the shores of the UK and are more commonly found in warmer tropical and sub-tropical oceans. The turtles feed on jellyfish and follow them around the oceans before returning to the tropics to breed. The turtle’s diet can mean that they often mistake floating litter and ocean debris as food and eat it, which makes them ill - often killing them.

Ian Simms, Ecologist from Amec Foster-Wheeler, who is working closely with NuGen on environmental impact assessments for Moorside, welcomed NuGen’s idea to clean the beaches.

“This is a very good idea, from an environmental point of view, because of the threat to the marine environment from discarded plastics in the oceans, and not just for turtles; birds, dolphins and whales can also suffer from the effects of discarded plastic and litter. Cleaning litter and waste from our region’s beaches helps reduce the potential impact on the ecology of the Cumbrian coast.”

The beach clean will take place on September 17th and NuGen staff, contractors and even local schools have been invited to come along and fill a trash bag with litter that could harm wildlife, such as the famous turtle … who knows, she might even make another appearance.

Paula Madill, NuGen’s Head of Environment, said: “Myrtle has been our most high-profile and exciting sighting… Our environmental assessment work will give us a clear picture of the condition of the local environment, so we know what steps we may need to take to mitigate any impact during construction and operation of a nuclear power station.”

The beach clean demonstrates NuGen’s commitment to the environment and to careful stewardship of the Moorside Site, which is close to the site of the existing Sellafield complex.



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