Our Petition on Change.org (please sign this - see link below)
We, the undersigned, demand that the Rt. Hon. George Eustice MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, revokes the licence granted to EDF by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), provides proper oversight of his Agencies and takes full responsibility for the ecology, safety and well-being of the estuary, its inhabitants, and the coastal populations of Avonmouth, Somerset, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff, Barry and beyond.
We also demand, in view of the potential harm to fish and in view of the International Marine Protected status of this unique ecology, that he reinstates the Environment Agency's Licence requirement that EDF install an effective Fish Deterrent around the water intakes.
EDF must end dumping waste in shallow waters, contrary to the estuary's Marine Protected status, before any further damage is done. The future health of the estuary is at serious risk from human activities. It is an internationally recognised OSPAR Marine Protected Area and a vital habitat and nursery ground for key fish species of shad, lamprey and eel as well as cod and salmon. Yet numbers are seriously declining. An agreed management plan requires the restoration of these populations to a favourable condition. The fish populations of rivers Severn, Wye and Usk are also categorised as probably being at risk. See: ASERA
There are three key reasons why the estuary is at serious risk:-
- There are plans to dump yet more contaminated sediments into the estuary. The Hinkley A and B power stations released radioactive particles which include plutonium with a half-life of 24,000 years. These are in the disturbed sediments and they reach the land through sea-spray and wind.
- Electricité de France (EDF) is building a massive seawater cooling system that will damage and kill millions of fish every year. EDF have asked permission to omit the Acoustic Fish Deterrent (AFD) system that is required by their current Licence. EDF wrongly claims that the AFD system will be ineffective.
- The new nuclear power station will suck in 29,000 gallons of seawater every second, heat it up by about 10 degrees and send it back into the estuary, wasting more energy into the environment than all the electrical power Hinkley C will generate. That heat will change the ecology of the estuary which is already warming due to climate change. Given concern about climate change, the waste heat should be used for commercial purposes on land, and not be dumped at sea.
In 2018 EDF disturbed the contaminated sediment silt by dredging many thousands of tonnes from the seabed near Hinkley Point, dumping it at Cardiff Grounds and since 2021, at Portishead. This disturbed sediment clouds the water and spreads out on the strong tidal currents all around the estuary, being deposited on its mud banks and beaches. Cefas officials responsible for testing have refused to use techniques capable of detecting radioactive particles in the sediment.
This petition has been written by Save the Severn which is a non-partisan coalition of scientists, experts, individuals, and organisations who are extremely concerned about the long-term damage that will be caused to the Severn estuary by Hinkley C power station which is scheduled to operate for sixty years.