Fish Guidance Systems has refuted claims by EDF that its acoustic fish deterrent (AFD) would create a noise “louder than a jumbo jet” at Hinkley Point C when it comes on line. EDF has instead suggested creating a salt marsh as a “natural” alternative to installing the AFD, which would have protected fish from its cooling systems. Campaigners had called for changes amid fears the planned nuclear power station’s cooling tunnels could kill millions of fish

Chris Fayers from Hinkley Point C told the BBC that said it would be a ”natural alternative” to  the AFD and claimed the deterrent system would have used 280 speakers to make noise “louder than a jumbo jet” 24 hours a day for 60 years.

But Dr David Lambert, Managing Director of Fish Guidance Systems which is due to install the AFD, said this claim was utterly untrue and that it will not impact any residents along the shore of the River Severn.

He said: “FGS’s fish deterrent systems use low frequency signals that reduce sound levels very quickly around an intake. When you are above water you can only hear it from a few metres, or tens of metres away if it is a larger system. As we all know, Hinkley’s intakes are located three kilometres offshore. So you will most definitely not hear the systems from anywhere along the banks of the River Severn.  

“The system at Hinkley, or more correctly four separate systems spread across the four separate intake heads, would each be the same size as that installed at Pembroke Power Station. This has been operating for more than 14 years with houses on the opposite side of the bay, less than one kilometre away, and there have not been any issues with the sound from the system affecting the residents. The systems are loud when they are operated above water, but this won’t be possible at Hinkley, as there are no deployment structures above the water. 

“If you are in a vessel and approach an AFD then you will hear the sound through the hull of the vessel, but this is limited to being in close proximity of the system, and again with the systems located three kilometres off shore no sound or vibrations will be audible from the shore.”