D&S IFCA Submit Final Responses to Hinkley Point C Consultations

Hinkley Point C, which is currently under construction, is a new generation nuclear power station situated on the Somerset coast. Power stations often extract large volumes of water for cooling purposes. Hinkley C will abstract billions of gallons of water per day from the Severn Estuary, killing large numbers of primarily juvenile fish. The water will be abstracted from within the Severn Estuary European Marine Site, where the fish assemblage is a protected sub-feature. Bridgwater Bay is an important nursery ground for fish including dover sole, herring and bass.

Permission to abstract water was originally obtained through a series of permissions granted by the Environment Agency (EA), the Planning Inspectorate and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). Permissions were dependent upon the inclusion of three fish protection measures; acoustic fish deterrents (AFDs), specially designed water intake heads and a fish recovery and return system. However, due to health and safety concerns relating to the maintenance of the AFD, EDF Energy are applying to have the requirement for acoustic deterrents removed.

D&S IFCA Response

D&S IFCA has submitted a detailed technical response to consultations held by EDF Energy and the EA. D&S IFCA is concerned about the lack of consideration of the effects on the fish at a community level in the Severn Estuary and the uncertainties in stock structure for many species. Additionally, there appear to be discrepancies and large uncertainties in the way the fish kill at Hinkley Point C has been predicted by scaling from numbers killed at Hinkley Point B.

The potential for cumulative impacts from aggregate dredging, water abstraction, renewable energy generation and coastal squeeze has the potential to alter community structure, connectivity and food webs of inshore fish populations, ultimately reducing their resilience. Therefore, the D&S IFCA Annual Plan supports a move to an Ecosystem Based Approach to fisheries management and the management of other marine activities, where cumulative impacts are thoroughly considered at the appropriate spatial scale.

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