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Judicial review hearing into licence for Hinkley Point C dredging in Severn Estuary

A two-and-a-half-day judicial review hearing will begin on Tuesday 8 March 2022 at 10.30am at the Royal Courts of Justice, London, into the licensing for dumping almost one million tonnes of mud and sediment in the Severn estuary.

Posted on 07 March 2022

Tarian Hafren, acting for environmental groups, argues that the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) acted unlawfully when it granted the licence to NNB Generation Company Ltd (HPC) to dump about 540,000 cubic metres (800,000 tonnes) of dredged material to make way for a new water cooling system at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant near to Bridgwater in Somerset. 

The licence allows the material to be deposited in the Severn Estuary Marine Protection Area near to a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Portbury Wharf Salt Marsh, at the Portishead disposal site. The dredging and dumping locations both fall within the Severn Estuary Special Area of Conservation and OSPAR Marine Protection Area, the largest coastal estuary in the UK and one of the largest estuaries in Europe. It is internationally important for fish rearing and harbours a wide diversity of significant habitats and species.
 
Tarian Hafren is represented by Leigh Day solicitor Rowan Smith, who said:
 
“Our client argues that the MMO did not have the legal power to license the dumping of mud from Hinkley Point C in the Severn Estuary, circumventing more in depth scrutiny of the plans in the process. It will also be argued that the MMO failed to consider alternatives to disposal at sea, and breached the Water Framework Directive by jeopardising good water quality. Our client  wishes to protect the Severn Estuary from unlawfully licensed dredging of massive amounts of material that may ultimately cause environmental harm.”

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Rowan Smith
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Rowan Smith

Rowan Smith is an associate solicitor in the human rights department.

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Legal challenge to Hinkley Point C dredging impact on Severn Estuary

Tarian Hafren, acting for environmental groups, has been granted permission for judicial review of the licence for dumping almost one million tonnes of mud and sediment in the Severn estuary.

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