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Members present:

Jane Davidson (Chair)

  • Dr Huw Brunt
  • Professor Roger Falconer
  • Dr Justin Gwynn
  • Dr James Robinson
  • Rachel Sharp

Apologies were received from Dr Rhoda Ballinger

Also present from the Welsh Government:

  • Dan Butler, Special Adviser to the First Minister
  • John Howells, Tara Doster, Jonni Tomos (Secretariat)

The fourth meeting of the First Minister’s Hinkley Point C Stakeholder Reference Group was held on 19 October. The Group agreed the minutes from the previous meeting, held on 21 September. 

The Group received papers on Cardiff Grounds and on fish (papers published separately). The Group noted that both papers had been prepared in order to provide additional background material to inform the Group’s wider discussions and should not be seen as providing definitive advice on either topic.  Members discussed both papers and agreed they provided valuable summaries setting a context for further exploration in this and subsequent meetings.  The Group identified issues within the papers they wished to raise later in the meeting with guest organisations.  The Group discussed correspondence it had received since the last meeting and agreed to write to a number of individuals and organisations either for further information or to invite them to attend future meetings.

The Group heard from representatives of Natural Resources Wales (NRW), EDF and Cefas.  The discussions with NRW focused on its role in determining marine licensing applications in Welsh waters, and the application of Welsh law by NRW to those decisions.  The Group sought and received information on the technical expertise available to NRW in its decision-making functions, and it agreed to write to NRW for further information on issues that were not fully covered during the meeting.

Representatives of EDF and the commercial arm of Cefas provided insight into the current status of the Hinkley project.  The Group sought and received information relating to EDF’s application for a marine licence to dispose of sediment at the Cardiff Grounds and the company’s decision to prepare an Environmental Statement.  The Group also heard about modelling methods it had employed, projected impacts of the development on fish in the Severn Estuary, and EDF’s appeal against a deemed refusal by the Environment Agency for a variation of an environmental permit.

Officials from the Government advisory arm of Cefas joined the meeting separately, and provided an explanation of the separation of duties within their organisation.  The Group enquired about Cefas’ research into Welsh at-sea disposal sites, and specifically about any further information on the Cardiff Grounds.

The Group agreed that its next meeting should be on 16 November 2020, at 9.00am.