Fish Guidance Systems are disappointed to hear of proposed changes to permit conditions at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
After participating in the public inquiry in 2022 and having received a letter from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy stating the matter is closed, we are seeking clarity from the Environment Agency as to why further permit applications have been allowed.
The Environment Agency has launched a four-week consultation on the alteration of the operational Water Discharge Activity (WDA) permit, which seeks to remove conditions related to an Acoustic Fish Deterrent (AFD) and add a waste stream for discharge from the Fish Recovery and Return system (FRR). This proposal follows a similar application in 2019 that resulted in an appeal to the Secretary of State, which was ultimately dismissed.
The original WDA permit included measures to protect the water quality of the Bristol Channel and minimise impacts on fish, including the use of an AFD. However, the owners of the power station, NNB Generation Company (HPC) Ltd, now argue that the AFD is no longer necessary to protect the water quality and do not wish to include it as part of this variation application. This is against the consensus of experts, The UK Government, and the Welsh Government that the AFD should be installed.
The Environment Agency will re-examine these conditions and assessing the potential impacts on water pollution and the habitat and species affected by the discharge from the FRR without the operation of an AFD. If they grant the application, they may consult the public further and decide on the conditions to include in the permit. The Environment Agency aims to publish our final decision later this year.
We will submit our objections, along with other questions to the consultation, and urge everyone involved to share any comments or concerns by March 2nd, 2023 through the online platform Citizen Space, by emailing [email protected], or by writing to P&SC – WQ Team at Quadrant 2, 99 Parkway Avenue, Sheffield, S9 4WF.