As urgent as environmental issues have become in this day and age, the crisis relating to climate change and the unrelenting pollution of our planet is a great unifier. Case in point: campaigners from Wales and England are coming together to save the ecology of the Severn Estuary in the face of alleged “complacency” from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
What’s all the fuss about, then? Collectively known as ‘Save the Severn Estuary’ or ‘Cofiwch Mor Hafren,’ activists say that contaminated sediment is being dumped in a Marine Protected Area (MPA) near Portishead, Bristol. This is in order to build an underwater cooling system for Hinkley nuclear power station. Campaigners believe that this will lead to the deaths of a huge number of fish over a period of several decades. It’ll also endanger other creatures that have protected status in the Estuary.
If all this rings a bell it’s because the same folks successfully took EDF to court over the same issue in Cardiff in 2018. MMO applied for an NRW permit to continue dumping sediment once more into Cardiff Grounds. Strong opposition has scuppered those plans. Now, Portishead is next, with campaigners claiming that both EDF and MMO are”disregarding” laws requiring such sites to have the highest level of protection from the MPA. Said laws should force EDF to choose less damaging disposal methods, preferably on land.
Members of the Save the Severn Estuary group are therefore calling on residents and businesses in Avonmouth, Bristol, South East Wales and Barry to form a coalition opposing the dumping from Hinkley. And if that’s not enough to sway you, here’s what Save the Severn Estuary advocate and Super Furry Animal, Cian Ciaran, has to say:
“The MMO has been reckless in permitting the dumping at Portishead and in sight of the Welsh shoreline of sediments contaminated by a history of nuclear power and industrial activity. They know contaminated mud will end up on our beaches and on mudbanks in our tidal rivers. We don’t know how much deposits and how much becomes airborne, reaching homes and farmland, because the necessary assessments haven’t been done. The dumping shows contempt for Severnside Welsh and English people, as well as for conservation and fishery interests.
If you can, please also make a donation towards the costs of legal action we are taking. We have set up a company for this purpose in order to make the fundraising easier. We are represented by Leigh Day, and the legal case seeks the quashing of EDF’s license.”
words HANNAH COLLINS
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