D&S IFCA submit a representation to the Planning Inspectorate regarding Acoustic Fish Deterrents at Hinkley Point C

The Severn Estuary has one of the most diverse estuarine fish faunas in the UK. Some species spend their entire life in the estuary. Others use the estuary for certain critical parts of their life cycle and the estuary is recognised as a nursery area for a wide range of species. This fish assemblage is protected as part of the Severn Estuary Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The various permits and licences necessary for Hinkley Point C to extract large quantities of cooling water from the Severn Estuary were conditionally granted in 2013 on the understanding that three mitigation measures would be implemented in order to reduce any impacts on the protected fish assemblage. NNB GenCo no longer believe they can deliver the Acoustic Fish Deterrents which were the central part of the three mitigation measures. The company have therefore applied to the Environment Agency to change the conditions of their permit and a public consultation was held in July 2019 which D&S IFCA responded to. Since then the EA has been reviewing the very complex evidence base in order to makes its decision. Recently NNB GenCo appealed to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) about the length of time the EA are taking to make a decision and the probable outcome. PINS subsequently asked for representations on the appeal. D&S IFCA submitted a representation this week.

D&S IFCA’s representation includes major concerns about the levels of uncertainty in estimates of how many fish Hinkley Point C will kill, and the impacts any such mortality might have on the Severn Estuary SAC and wider fish populations. D&S IFCA’s representation therefore supports the Environment Agency.

NNB GenCo has asked that the case should be heard at a Public Inquiry. During such an Inquiry a Planning Inspector will review the evidence from all parties and make a decision. PINS will decide who can speak or present evidence to the Inquiry, and whether the Inquiry will be held wholly or partly in public. D&S IFCA will continue to input into the process where possible.

If you would like to receive updates on Hinkley Point C from the Environment Agency please email them at: WessexEnquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk