LOCALS to a village near Bridgwater have set up a campaign group to oppose Hinkley Point C's plans to build a saltmarsh on the Pawlett Hams.

The group, named Protect Pawlett Hams, describes the area of land as 'a treasured expanse of 320 hectares of vibrant fresh water wetland and grazing land'.

The saltmarsh, planned by EDF to facilitate the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, is currently under public consultation, and comes as an alternative to a previously proposed acoustic fish deterrent system, which would reportedly make noise louder than a jumbo jet, 24-hours per day for the next 60 years.

It is hoped that the proposed 800-acre saltmarsh area along the River Parrett would create new habitats for fish and animals, improve local water quality, and help prevent flooding, as well as stop fish from swimming into the plant's cooling water system.

However, the campaign group says the plans will 'irreversibly flood and destroy' the area.

Read more: Hinkley Point C's online public consultation on future works

A spokesperson for Protect Pawlett Hams said: "Obviously this is an area close to the hearts of people in Pawlett.

"As one man said to me, 'it's our heritage', and for the sake of future generations we want to keep it."

Members of the group drew upon the possibility of the proposed saltmarsh becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

They also believe it will not provide a suitable breeding ground for fish, and are concerned that farmers will lose portions of their land if the plans are to go ahead.

At a consultation event with EDF in Pawlett regarding the proposal, held on Tuesday, January 30, staff allegedly admitted that the specific details of the plans had not yet been confirmed.

A spokesperson for the campaign group added: "With some of the worlds top engineers working for EDF at HPC, we believe they must be able to come up with a solution that prevents fish from being sucked up the tubes in the first place.

"This surely has to be a better solution than destroying a precious and beloved habitat that we will never get back again."

Hinkley Point C say that monitoring of the cooling water intakes and the compensatory habitat will take place throughout the power station’s entire operation - carried out by an independent advisory group made up of environmental organisations, conservation groups, and local authorities.

In response, Hinkley Point C's Head of Environment, Chris Fayers, said: “Hinkley Point C is the first power station on the Severn to have fish protection measures in place.

"Despite scientific evidence that the remaining impact on fish is “very small”, the project supports further effective, proportionate and practical compensation measures.

"We are currently consulting on a proposal to create new saltmarsh along with areas of seagrass, kelp forest and oyster bed and we will listen carefully to the views of the community and the environmental organisations.

“Resolution of this issue matters.

"The project is one of Britain’s biggest acts for the environment, built to meet exacting environmental standards.

"It will make a major contribution to energy security and the fight against climate change.