Atlantic Salmon Stocks

To the Editor,

I am writing in response to your recent article “Conservationists say Hinkley C water intakes could wipe out Atlantic salmon stocks.”

As a representative of the scientific community and the manufacturer of Acoustic Fish Deterrent (AFD) systems, I feel it is necessary to address several inaccuracies and misconceptions that were attributed to EDF in the article, particularly regarding the potential effects of AFD systems on marine mammals. 

The science of why marine mammals are not affected by the AFD

AFD systems emit low-frequency sounds to deter fish from entering hazardous areas, such as the intakes of power stations, without causing harm. These systems operate at frequencies below 1,000Hz, significantly different from the hearing range of most marine mammals, which is in the high-frequency range (tens of thousands of hertz). For instance, grey seals’ peak hearing sensitivity is around 20,000Hz, while harbour porpoises peak hearing is around 125,000Hz. This stark difference in frequency ranges shows that AFD systems’ sounds are irrelevant to marine mammals, negating the premise that these systems could harm or significantly affect them.

Real world trials and evidence

It is acknowledged that some marine mammals might perceive low-frequency sounds. However, the overlap with AFD systems is minimal. This is supported by empirical evidence, such as the early evaluation of an AFD system near a grey seal colony at the Hartlepool power station.

The seals were closely monitored by independent scientists and this study showed no discernible impact on the seals, reinforcing the fact that AFD systems are not harmful to marine mammal populations.

In conclusion, the narrative that AFD systems pose a significant threat to marine mammals lacks a scientific basis. It’s critical to differentiate between spurious claims and scientifically backed evidence. As we navigate these discussions, we are happy to provide independent reports and scientific based evidence that refute any misinformation.

Yours sincerely,

Dr David Lambert

Managing Director,

Fish Guidance Systems

Dogs Attacking Livestock

To: Ian Liddell Grainger MP Conservative candidate for Tiverton and Minehead Dear Ian, In our local newspapers, you bemoan the lack of rural policing in your article about dogs attacking livestock last week (1 March). I hope you have taken this up with our Conservative Police Commissioner, Mark Shelford, and his Conservative paymasters in Westminster who have done so much to undermine effective policing over the last decade. However, I doubt it. Instead, you complain that proposed new rules ‘aren’t draconian enough’ and want to see dogs automatically killed after attacking livestock. I believe you called for more ‘draconian’ punishments for their owners, too. Draco instituted the death penalty for even minor offences.  That was the distant past, and we have moved on. Is this really all you have to offer our farmers? Nobody wants their dog to attack livestock, but tougher penalties aren’t going to fix this, just as they aren’t the answer to knife crime, domestic abuse, burglary and the other problems which seem to be increasing in Avon and Somerset. Rural crime needs a combination of better policing, yes, but also education, reaching out to communities, and encouraging personal responsibility. These things take patience and resources, and grown-up leadership - things which the Liberal Democrats understand very well, and put into practice across many local councils. As your next Police and Crime Commissioner, I will work with MPs and local communities to put effective measures in place to deal with both rural and urban crime. We all want this to diminish! Benet Allen Liberal Democrat candidate, Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset (election, May 2) [email protected]

West Somerset Free Press Letters
Benet Allen, Liberal Democrat candidate, Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset (West Somerset Free Press Letters)

Museum Thanks

Many thanks to all that took part in the Minehead Museum Charity Quiz at Minehead Social Club last Friday (March 1). Another well attended evening raised around £450 toward the ongoing Premises Appeal to secure a permanent home for the museum's unique collection.

Thanks also to all that helped in the preparation and running of the event. The quiz was won by a team representing Minehead Rotary Club and they and the runners up were awarded prizes.

The museum, in part of the Beach Hotel, reopens to the public on Saturday, March 23 and will be open until Sunday, November 3rd.

Julian Luke

Chair of Trustees

Minehead Museum

Election odds

Dear editor,

William Hill, the bookmaker, is offering odds of 1/14 (the equivalent of a 93% chance) for Labour to gain most seats at the coming General Election. If this forecast is correct, it is important to have as strong an opposition as possible. Unless the Conservatives end their constant internecine squabbling, they are unlikely to provide much more than entertainment due to their inadequacy. 

Recent reports in this paper of the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate, Mrs. Rachel Gilmore, are encouraging. I would put money on her being well able to hold to account whoever wins the next General Election.

Rohaise Thomas-Everard, Dulverton.

West Somerset Free Press Letters
Exmoor Ponies on North Hill (West Somerset Free Press)
Porlock Weir
Porlock Weir (West Somerset Free Press)