United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Fishermen angry at Dong injunction

UK: The UK's National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) has expressed its anger at the imposition of an injunction by Dong restricting the fishing industry's right to work in an area of sea off England's east coast.

Race Bank is located off the east coast of England
Race Bank is located off the east coast of England

Dong is beginning geophysical surveys for the 580MW Race Bank project and has been negotiating with the fishing industry in the area in order to agree restrictions on the use of the site, but failed to reach a compromise.

As such the developer took its fight to court to force the fishermen to refrain from activities in the area, and was granted an "interim order" covering the period of 15 August to 22 October.

The NFFO said: "It is very regrettable the company has seen fit to turn to the courts over an issue that should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations. Fishermen have a legitimate right to fish on their customary grounds and using a high court injunction to force them out of the way seems like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

"It seems Dong Energy has left insufficient time to reach agreement with local fishermen and there has been a regrettable breakdown in dialogue."

Dong responded: "With all our projects, we strive to establish a clear and fair dialogue with relevant stakeholders and the local community, and Race Bank is no exception. It is very unusual for us not to reach agreement of a displacement package with affected local parties.

"Submitting an interim order was very much a last resort that we were hoping to avoid. We will continue our discussions with the fishing community."

The NFFO agreed that court action relating to offshore developments has been rare: "We can usually sort out an amicable arrangement that compensates fishermen for losing temporary or permanent access to their fishing areas."

The 590MW project is to be built 27 kilometres from the Norfolk coast, and is due to come online in 2017. Dong bought the project from Centrica at the end of last year.

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