HomeNewsEnvironment Agency grants contentious Hinkley C water discharge permit

Environment Agency grants contentious Hinkley C water discharge permit

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The Environment Agency has granted a contentious water discharge activity (WDA) permit to NNB Generation Company at Hinkley Point C near Burnham-On-Sea.

The decision has provoked concerns from the Stop Hinkley campaign group.

It comes as the Environment Agency says it has added new limits and conditions to the permit variation requested by the company “to protect people and the environment”.

A WDA permit allows the company to discharge returned abstracted seawater from the cooling water system, fish recovery and return system and other liquid trade effluents, including treated sewage effluent, to the Bristol Channel.

The application asked the Environment Agency to make a number of changes to the permit:

  • remove all references to the acoustic fish deterrent (AFD);
  • remove all references to the effects of abstracting cooling water because the Environment Agency does not regulate this from the open sea;
  • add the discharge of seawater and biomass from the fish recovery and return system.

NNB Generation Company (HPC) Limited needs environmental permits from the Environment Agency to cover the work and the controls needed to be put into place for construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning of any new power station.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said it is responsible for regulating environmental protection at nuclear sites, ensuring that people and the environment are properly protected.

They added: “We ran public consultations on the company’s application from January 24 to March 2 and on our proposed decision and draft permit from April 25 to May 25.”

“We assessed the permit application and considered the responses we received from both consultations.”

“We are grateful to everyone who took the time to respond to our consultation and attend our online consultation meetings.”

Katherine Attwater, from the Stop Hinkley campaign group, has written to the Environment Agency demanding to know how it reached its decision.

In an email to the agency she said: “What brought you to this conclusion, where you are allowing all the human waste from the largest construction site in Europe, over decades, and the bodies of millions of dead fish for 60 years, pollute our most significant and precious estuary?”

“Without a full explanation I will never consider responding to one of your consultations again.”

A spokesperson for Hinkley Point C said: “Hinkley Point C is the first power station along the Severn to be built with fish protection measures in place.”

“We are working with Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and the Environment Agency to develop a comprehensive mitigation package to support the removal of an acoustic fish deterrent, which will form part of a full public consultation later this year.”

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