A NEW consultation has been launched that will give the public a chance to have their say about proposed changes to how cooling water is taken from the Severn Estuary by Hinkley C, and its impact on fish.

NNB Genco Ltd was granted an environmental permit by the Environment Agency in 2013 regarding cooling water, and part of this required the company to reduce the impact on the local fish population.

EDF says it still plans to install a fish return system, and intakes designed to reduce the number of fish entering.

However it has asked to remove the condition to install an acoustic fish deterrent which uses sound to put off certain species of fish entering the intake pipes.

EDF says a detailed independent study has shown that the power station will have 'negligible impact' on the fish populations in the Bristol Channel and beyond, with the two planned fish protection measures in place.

An EDF spokesman said: "Installing and maintaining dozens of sound projectors underwater two miles offshore is dangerous and poses risks to divers that are unacceptable to Hinkley Point C.

"There is poor visibility and one of the highest tidal ranges in the world. That danger cannot be justified for a system that will have almost no benefit.

"Many power stations have taken cooling water from the Bristol Channel in the past with no detrimental impact on fish populations. Hinkley Point C will be the first to include fish protection measures."

Power stations need cooling water to generate electricity.

The water taken from the Bristol Channel by Hinkley Point C will contain fish.

Fisheries scientists predicted the percentage of adult fish stocks taken each year by the power station, just as they would for commercial fishing.

The EDF spokesman continued: "The worst case predicted effect of Hinkley Point C with the planned two fish protection measures in place varies by species, from a maximum of 0.2 per cent to less than 0.001 per cent per year.

"The study concluded that this level is negligible compared with natural mortality and fishing. The predicted levels will have no effect on the sustainability of each species nor on the predators that rely on the fish to survive."

You can view the application and all supporting documents online at consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/psc/ta5-1ud-nnb-generation-company-hpc-limited-2 to inform your comments, which must be made by June 4, 2019.

Alternatively, write to psc-waterquality@environment-agency.gov.uk or P&SC - WQ Team, Quadrant 2, 99 Parkway Avenue, Sheffield, S9 4WF.

Hard copies of all supporting information can be viewed at:

• EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point Visitor Centre, Units 18-19 Angel Place Shopping Centre, 25 Angel Crescent, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 3TQ.

• Environment Agency Wessex Area, Rivers House, East Quay, Bridgwater, TA6 4YS.

• Environment Agency Head Office, Horizon House, Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AH.

• Customer Services Reception, West Somerset Council, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton, TA4 4QA.

• Central Library Hub, Cardiff Central Library, The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1FL.