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Campaign group opposing Hinkley Point C mud dump secure judicial review

12 Feb 2022 4 minute read
A dredger in the Bristol Channel off Penarth. Photo by It’s No Game is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A group campaigning against the dumping of sediment from the site of a decommissioned nuclear power station has succeeded in securing a judicial review challenging the legality of a licence to dump waste into the River Severn.

The Save the Severn Estuary / Cofiwch Môr Hafren campaign involves the Geiger Bay coalition and groups from the English side of the estuary and is seeking to halt the dumping of sediment from the construction of the Hinkley C power station in the Marine Protected Area (MPA) near Portishead, Bristol. In 2018, EDF, which is building the plant, dumped mud and sediment off the coast of Cardiff despite fierce objections.

The Campaign group says that millions of tonnes of contaminated mud and sediment will contaminate the waters and beaches used by local communities, and that by choosing to ignore legal safeguards, energy giant EDF is threatening the health of families and animal life.

Save the Severn Estuary / Cofiwch Môr Hafren say that EDF are now trying to avoid further opposition and negative media attention by moving the operation to Portishead, Bristol as a ‘soft touch’ location after initially applying for a new license to dump more waste off the Cardiff coast.

At the judicial review on 8 March the campaign group will challenge the legality of the licence granted by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), stating that several important procedures haven’t been met and that an alternative to dumping at Portishead should be adopted.

Save the Severn Estuary / Cofiwch Môr Hafren spokesperson, Cian Ciarán, says: “An energy giant is taking the health, wellbeing, and good nature of the people of Bristol and other Severn communities for granted in proceeding with dumping waste materials in sight of Portishead.

“EDF are pursuing this in the knowledge that the 2018 dump near Cardiff was unlawful, so instead avoid further scrutiny by running to the English side of the Estuary to try and get away with it again.

“They are not doing this to safeguard energy production or an act to combat climate change, this build and the dumping in the estuary as a result is economically and morally unjustifiable in so many ways, and once more is avoidable.

“There are alternatives, this is a choice made for convenience and profit, not out of necessity or consideration for the environment or future generations.”

Breached rules

EDF is dredging hundreds of thousands of tons of sediment from the site of the decommissioned Hinkley A nuclear power station to build a controversial underwater based cooling system for the Hinkley C plant, that critics say will kill millions of fish and damage the ecology of the estuary.

Scientist also warn the disturbed sediment contains historical industrial pollutants with both chemical and nuclear elements.

The campaign group’s legal challenge argues the MMO did not have the legal power to vary an existing licence to allow the dumping and alleges it failed to properly assess the impact on certain protected species and breached rules about water quality.

Historically the Portishead site was always used for the disposal of port and harbour navigation channel dredging and there is no evidence that it was ever used for the disposal of more controversial wastes.

For more information about Save the Severn Estuary / Cofiwch Môr Hafren and the case for Judicial Review, visit here………

With a possible legal bill of £60,000, Save the Severn Estuary / Cofiwch Môr Hafren have launched also an appeal to help pay for the legal challenge and is calling for residents and businesses around the Severn Marine Protected Area, including Avonmouth-Bristol and south-east Wales down to  Barry to register opposition to the plans.

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Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
2 years ago

Ardderchog – datblygiad i’w groesawu yw hwn! ~ Excellent – this is a development to be welcomed!

2 years ago

I’ll believe this mud is safe when they dump some in the Thames

naomi zuckerman
naomi zuckerman
2 years ago

what does EDF stand for??

2 years ago

EDF is Energy De France, the french fries are up to no good again,

2 years ago

When ordinary people have to raise money to fight giant corporations that have teams of lawyers, because their own government is complicit in the breaking of environmental laws and destructive developments, then it’s clkear that democracy is in tatters, and the political system is utterly broken. The first business of government should be the protection of all citizens, not the protection of investment schemes for their friends and political donors. So I would much rather give financial support to a national campaign to restore democracy, criminalize private political donations and private lobbying, introduce proportional representation, remove political ‘whips’ from parliament… Read more »

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