First they came for the newts, then they came for the salmon, eels, shads and lampreys?

Here’s a very big example of what Dominic Woodfield wrote about in his excellent guest blog this morning.

There’s a nuclear power station, Hinckley C, being built on the Severn Estuary and part of the conditions for it being built were to do with protecting fish which use the estuary and which might be sucked into the power station with water needed to cool the plant.

People with long memories will remember that fish always come up on the Severn Estuary whether it is about building a barrage or other forms of tidal power. That’s because two species of lamprey and the obscure but lovely Twaite Shad are what make the Severn estuary a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive (the site is also a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive). The Eel, a globally threatened spcies also uses the Severn Estuary as do Atlantic Salmon and the Allis Shad.

The permission for the power station, the Secretary of State’s Development Consent Order (DCO) required three measures to be in place: a Low Velocity Side Entry intake (LVSE), a Fish Recovery & Return (FRR) system and an Acoustic Fish Deterrent (AFD) system.

Now an application has been made to ditch the AFD – see here. The application on whether to ditch the AFD or not is the decision of Alok Sharma, the SoS for for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (fish conservation is not a primary role in the job, and Mr Sharma is not known to be a great fish-fan).

It’s not clear to me why the AFD is to be ditched by the power station – it couldn’t be that it is expensive could it? Or that they don’t like fish? I asked EFD, for it will be their power station, why they wanted the AFD to be ditched and how much the system would cost and they didn’t answer the second question but they sent me a link to their thoughts on the matter – click here. It seems, to me, to boil down to saying ‘Yes, we signed up to this but we don’t think this matters much. Not many fish really.’.

I found that WWT had responded to the consulttion on this matter – click here. That response confirmed several of my concerns but went much further. WWT seem to think that the analysis was based on poor data from Hinckley B (insufficient sampling and only in daylight (when many of the relevant fish are active at night)) and also unrealistically optimistic assumptions of the analysis. WWT suggest that the package of three measures was not regarded as certain to work and ought to be tested and if EDF want rid of one of the measures then everything should be up for grabs again as far as suitable mitigation is concerned. WWT seem to have done a good job to me – I might send them a fiver.

But although I would need to read all this stuff quite a few times fully to understand it, I guess I have already read it more often than Alok Sharma will. When the PM is bad-mouthing newts, what price shads and lampreys?

First they came for the newts, except they had come for the Hen Harriers before the newts, and they’d come for the trees too, and then they came for the salmon, eels, shads and lampreys?

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7 Replies to “First they came for the newts, then they came for the salmon, eels, shads and lampreys?”

  1. I blame the NIMBYs, the middle class assholes, who turned serious conservation into a comedian's punchline by putting great crested newt habitat as a planning objection on virtually every project as if it is a golden bullet for killing projects; but especially for those which were "affordable" homes. And having turned it into a bad comedian's joke, now those pair of malodorous jesters, Johnson and Cumming, are just leaning into it with some more of their rabble rousing "fuck the liberals" rhetoric.

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  2. When all the fish are gone or dead like the trees perhaps then they will understand that they/we cannot eat money.

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  3. We don’t need Hinckley C. The planet doesn’t need it, our children don’t need it and the fish certainly don’t need it.
    Use the stupid amount of money it will cost, to put solar panels on all the empty roofs and keep us, the planet, our children and our fish safe.
    And do not even think about telling me the sun don’t shine at night!

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    1. Been saying for years, all roofs especially on huge industrial estates should have solar panels, and also Rain capturing facilities for the storage of water, for grey water use.

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  4. And all the while where is the MSM with putting this in the public domain? The MSM seem to recycle press releases full of spin or erroneous twaddle? Investigative journalism seems a rare species these days?

    OK perhaps a lot of the public may not fully appreciate the importance of the natural health service etc. but many do and should be given accurate information upon which to base their decisions?

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  5. Good for WWT. It is outrageous that the developer should not be fulfilling the contract and is trying to wriggle out of it. These nuclear power station last for fifty years or even more. Who knows what the fish and sea life will be like then. A lot of organisations are trying to help the fish and other marine wildlife avoid a complete collapse why should they have their efforts undermined by a large developer?
    Also what a farce that Mr Sharma should be responsible for this issue. He never acknowledged my letter on the smothering of Graveney Marshes in north Kent with solar panels and I have the feeling that he is yet another one of those Tories who cares nothing and knows nothing about wildlife but cares very much about money and helping the developer.

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  6. Thank you Mark for raising this issue, it has been lacking adequate publicity. HPC could run for 70 years. Alternative cooling options must be considered to avoid ecosystem collapse.

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