EDF has responded to claims by Hinkley Point C campaigners that the nuclear power station ‘will be wiping out fish stocks in the Severn Estuary for 60 years’.
The Stop Hinkley Campaign accused EDF, the company building Hinkley Point C, of trying to bully the Environment Agency into allowing them to “destroy environmentally precious fish stocks for the 60 year lifetime of the nuclear power station” – a point that has been disputed by EDF,.
A condition placed on Hinkley Point C by the Environment Agency was that permission to build it was dependent on Acoustic Fish Deterrents (AFDs) being placed on the two massive cooling water intake heads 3 kilometres offshore from the Nuclear site.
Now, the campaign group claims Hinkley Point C is “trying to renege on its commitment to install AFDs and is seeking a variation on the planning conditions imposed.”
Hinkley Point C has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate to seek a variation on the planning conditions imposed. Stop Hinkley claims EDF says the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), the government’s marine and freshwater science expert body, is happy for them to go ahead without AFDs.
Katy Attwater, spokesperson for the Stop Hinkley Campaign, says: “EDF is up to its usual tricks of manipulating environmental laws to get planning permission and then reneging on their promises.”
“We at Stop Hinkley, believe they either can no longer afford to install and maintain the Acoustic Fish Deterrents or may have had no intention to do so from the outset. This does not bode well for Sizewell and Bradwell, EDF’s next proposed nuclear projects, both highly sensitive environmental locations.“
The Severn Estuary and its catchment of rivers that feed into it are one of the most important breeding and feeding grounds for fish and birds in Europe.
But Chris Fayers, head of environment at Hinkley Point C, responds: “Hinkley Point C is the first power station in the Severn Estuary to include fish protection measures in its design. The project has applied to remove one of three planned measures after studies from Government marine experts showed it would have a negligible impact on local fish populations. Installing dozens of sound projectors in fast flowing water two miles offshore poses risks to divers that cannot be justified for a system that will have almost no benefit.”
“We are committed to reducing environmental impact from a project which will play a key role in fighting climate change and we will work with the Environment Agency to find an acceptable permit solution.“
EDF claims that the worst case predicted effect of Hinkley Point C with the planned two fish protection measures in place varies by species, from a maximum of 0.2% to less than 0.001% per year.
They say Cefas concluded that this level is “negligible” compared with natural mortality and fishing and will have no effect on the sustainability of each species nor on the predators that rely on the fish to survive.