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18th August 2015

Exotic visitor spotted during environmental assessment

A rare five-foot long leatherback sea turtle was spotted off St Bees Head in West Cumbria during NuGen’s environmental assessment work.

The sea turtle spotted off St Bees Head in Cumbria has been named ‘Myrtle’ by NuGen staffThe leatherback turtle - which has been named ‘Myrtle’ by NuGen staff - is the largest species of turtle, but is extremely rare around the shores of the UK and is more commonly found in warmer tropical and sub-tropical oceans. The turtles feed on jellyfish and follow them across the world before returning to the tropics to breed.

The environmental impact assessment work is being carried out to better understand the environment around the Moorside site and, if required, to learn how to manage the potential impact on the environment of developing a new nuclear power station on land close to the existing Sellafield complex.

A large part of this assessment is to better understand the surrounding habitats and identify the local plant and animal life. This will, in turn, help NuGen develop the plans for Moorside Power Station in an environmentally sustainable way. Lots of species have already been identified but nothing quite as unusual as a sea turtle.

NuGen’s head of environment, Paula Madill, said: “The sighting of the turtle is very interesting but is unlikely to impact on the project – even so, it’s absolutely thrilling to have seen it and to have been able to snatch a few rare photographs of the animal in open water.

“We’ve seen many of the species we expected to find, a few we didn’t and others have been rather elusive - but this rare and beautiful creature has been a real highlight for me, and the team carrying out the assessment work.”



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