March 3 2015 Latest news:
Friday, August 15, 2014
North Norfolk fishermen are furious after an offshore wind company has taken the rare move to issue an injunction against them to prevent fishing in an area they want to survey.
Dong Energy has been accused of “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut” as it was believed negotiations with fishermen were progressing.
The company said the move was a last resort and it plans to continue discussions.
The injunction will prevent fishing in an area of The Wash between Friday and October 22.
Nicky King, 51, chairman of the Wells and District Inshore Fisherman’s Association, said: “We understand we’re not going to prevent a multi-billion pound project going ahead but we feel we should be able to receive a fair compensation.
“They have taken one of the best fishing areas away from us and it will have a big impact on fishermen all over the north Norfolk coast.
“They are taking the subsidies that we pay as British consumers and tax payers and preventing us from doing the work we’ve done for hundreds of years.
“We’ve been negotiating with renewable energy companies for years and it’s never come to this.
“We’re reeling with shock because we thought we only had a couple of small details to iron out with them.”
The site is mainly used for crab and lobster fishing and some whelk fishing.
Cromer fisherman John Davies said: “I think it is disgusting that a foreign company is trying to force fishermen away from areas that they have fished in for generations because it wants to put up a wind farm. “Shellfish is the only section of the fishing industry that is doing well. Some of the fishermen have got thousands of pots in the area and the company wants it cleared in the middle of the crab season.
“It does not only affect the fishing industry, it affects the tourist industry. The knock on affect is quite devastating. At the moment money talks and might is right.”
A spokesman for Dong Energy said: “With all our projects, we strive to establish a clear and fair dialogue with relevant stakeholders and the local community. This is very much a unique case as it’s very unusual for us not to agree a displacement package with affected local parties.
“We are still trying to reach an agreement with local fishermen but we also have to progress with our offshore geophysical surveys to comply with the terms of our agreement for lease with The Crown Estate.
“Submitting an application for an interim order was very much a last resort.”
The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisatons (NFFO) chief executive, Barrie Deas, 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.
“In over 30 years, there have been very few examples in which offshore developers have resorted to the courts.”
What do you think? Write to EDPLetters@archant.co.uk