We have been determining an application from NNB GenCo to vary an environmental permit, issued in 2013, for the discharge of turbine condenser cooling and process waters from the Hinkley Point C site. NNB GenCo’s application to vary its permit seeks to remove one of the measures, which is required by the existing permit. This is for an acoustic fish deterrent (AFD) at the cooling water intake pipes in the Bristol Channel. The AFD, together with other measures, reduce the number of fish drawn into the cooling water system. On 4 August 2020, NNB GenCo served notice on us as it considered its application to vary the permit had been refused because we had not yet completed our determination. This came after we shared our provisional results of assessments carried out under the Habitats Regulations. NNB GenCo’s notice stopped the permitting process from that date. The Habitats Regulations ensure protection of the environment by requiring decision makers, such as the Environment Agency, to assess the impacts of their proposed decisions on designated habitats and species. While we had not made a final decision on the application to remove the AFD, our provisional conclusion was that its removal, without additional mitigation measures, is unlikely to meet the requirements of the Habitats Regulations. On 24 September 2020 NNB GenCo told us that it had appealed to the Secretary of State against the Environment Agency’s deemed refusal of the application to vary its permit conditions at HPC. The appeal to the Secretary of State will be heard by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) which has powers delegated by the Secretary of State to deal with environmental permit appeals. As an independent regulator the Environment Agency takes a proportionate approach but must be robust and confident in the assessments and decisions it makes. We will carefully consider the grounds that NNB GenCo has set out and we will respond to the appeal accordingly. NNB GenCo has submitted its appeal in writing to the Planning Inspectorate and requested that the case should be heard at a Public Inquiry. We are obliged to notify any person who is affected by, is likely to be affected by, or has an interest in the appeal. Should you wish to make any representations on this appeal, you should do so by writing directly to the Planning Inspectorate at the address below before close of play on 27 October 2020.
Environment Agency 7th Oct 2020 read more »
EDF’s Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station will be wiping out fish stocks in Severn Estuary for 60 years. The Stop Hinkley Campaign is accusing EDFGenco, the French and Chinese owned Company building Hinkley Point C, of trying to bully the UK Environment Agency into allowing them to destroy environmentally precious fish stocks for the 60 year lifetime of the nuclear power station. A condition placed on EDFGenco by the Environment Agency was that permission to build Hinkley C 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 EDFGenco is trying to renege on its commitment to install AFDs and is seeking a variation on the planning conditions imposed. EDFGenco claims that 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. The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust points out that “CEFAS’s relationship as a paid contractor to EDFGenco and an agent of Government raises unavoidable questions of conflict of interest”.
Stop Hinkley Press Release 8th Oct 2020 read more »
A number of measures aimed at protecting workers at Hinkley Point C amid the coronavirus pandemic remain in place as cases continue to rise across Somerset.
Somerset Live 9th Oct 2020 read more »