Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has approved EDF Energy’s plan to sample and test marine sediment from the Bristol Channel before any future licence application for its disposal in Wales.
The source of the sediment is the Somerset foreshore in England, part of the construction site of the Hinkley Point C power station.
EDF Energy will need to collect sediment samples in accordance with the approved plan and test them for chemical and radiological material, before applying to NRW for a marine licence to dispose of the dredged material.
Michael Evans, Head of Operations South Wales Central for NRW, said:
“It’s our job to make sure activities in the Severn Estuary don’t harm this important marine environment.
“EDF has taken on board the recommendations within our pre-application advice back in June 2020, and we’re now satisfied that the sample plan meets the requirements of internationally agreed guidance and sampling procedures.
“Should we receive a marine licence application and results of the sediment testing, we will thoroughly assess the information and seek expert advice in the process.
“We only grant marine licences for disposal of dredged material at sea if we’re confident the proposed activity will not harm people or the environment.”
EDF Energy previously disposed of marine sediment from the construction site into a disposal site off the South Wales coast near Cardiff in 2018 after it was assessed as safe.
The company now plans to deposit a further amount of sediment into the Cardiff Grounds disposal site.
NRW has also received a request from EDF Energy to consider whether an environmental impact assessment (EIA) will be required as part of the application process.
The decision on the EIA will be made over the next few months and will be published on NRW’s website.
“We want to reassure people that all marine licence applications, whether they require an EIA or not, are thoroughly and robustly assessed to protect people and the environment.”
Further information on EDF Energy’s plans are available on NRW’s website: