The President of Burnham Boat Owners Sea Angling Association has this week spoken out against proposals to allow Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to drop a planning condition to fit acoustic fish deterrents (AFDs) to its water intakes in the Bristol Channel.
John May has given his reaction to the Environment Agency considering an application from EDF to amend Hinkley’s water discharge activity to remove the requirement for AFDs. It is currently holding a second public consultation which runs until Thursday (May 25th) as we reported here.
John May told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “The variation to the discharge permit is being considered because of the removal of the Acoustic Fish Deterrent and the judicial review that EDF legal team threatened to instigate if the ‘extract permit’ conditions to protect fish and other marine life were not removed.”
“Agreement to the variation seals the fate of an enormous amount of marine life which EDF in their original scheme, as required by the EA, were required to protect. The Inquiry found that the removal of the ‘AFD benefits’ would result in many more fish and crustaceans entering the system and being killed.”
John adds: “EDF figures confirm that the species of fish found in the areas of the Intakes will suffer 70% to 100% mortality. Some will go to tip and others will be discharged into the sea. This poses risks to the environment and pollution – it has happened in the US.”
“These figures are a far cry from the less than 1%, and therefore officially insignificant, mortality that is frequently quoted to us by CEFAS / EDF. This figure is calculated against UK stock not local Bristol Channel stock.”
“The whole process of assessing the damage to the marine environment is legally required to be carried out on a precautionary basis. Having lost their case at the Inquiry, EDF, CEFAS and their legal teams together with the EA are in the position of having to resort to arguing over legal precedent rather than what’s best.”
“CEFAS in the case of HPC are not independent – they paid millions to make and defend the case. None of them can afford to admit that they are wrong. From day one when construction started the design was set with reliance on an AFD that was never to be.”
Anti-nuclear campaigners from ‘Stop Hinkley’ also claim 11 billion fish could be killed during the power station’s lifetime if AFDs are not used. The group says EDF should not be allowed to “wriggle out of conditions imposed when the project was given planning permission.”
The Environment Agency plans to publish its final decision in the summer of this year.
Click here to submit comments before the consultation ends on May 25th.