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King’s Lynn fishermen ‘owed £0.7m’ – row over compensation after cockle beds damaged  

Credit:  Lynn News | 05 November 2013 | www.lynnnews.co.uk ~~

Fishermen say the company behind an offshore wind farm owe them more than £700,000 for damaging cockle beds.

The Greater Wash Fishing Industry Group, which represents Lynn boats, says Centrica is refusing to return to the negotiating table to discuss the compensation.

The row has erupted over the lucrative beds at West Mark Nock, near Walpole Cross Keys, which have been damaged by work to lay cables from an offshore wind farm near Skegness to a sub-station.

Both sides are disputing the amount of compensation due to 46 Lynn fishing boats, which have not been able to harvest the cockles from that site over two years.

Fishermen say they are owed £759,600 and the work has damaged the adult and juvenile cockles along with future crops.

Chairman Andy Roper said a legal solution could be sought if negotiations fail.

Mr Roper said: “Two years of crops have been damaged. Not only did the work crush the cockles but it also suffocated them.

“Centrica’s operations have been disrupting and creating loss many years.”

Mr Roper said biologists have completed four surveys of the cockle population within the cable corridor since work began in 2011.

Survey figures showed that the cable route contained 780 tonnes before work started but this dropped to 266 tonnes.

Mr Roper said the young crop which has been destroyed by the work would have created a further 1,091 tonnes.

The contract agreed to pay £1,200 per tonne of cockles.

Cockles produced from The Wash are processed in factories in Lynn before being exported to Spain.

Mr Roper said: “Wind farms are complete and utter waste of time. “

Centrica disagree with the cockle tonnage figures stated by the fishermen as they say don’t stack up scientifically.

A spokeswoman said: “We’re committed to understanding, managing and reducing the environmental and ecological impacts of all of our activities, and have been working to minimise any impact of the essential works related to the Lincs wind farm throughout construction.

“Since the start of construction in 2011, we’ve been working to a methodology for assessing tonnage lost that was agreed with the fishermen, and is based on standard EIFCA methods.

“On the basis of this, we’ve made a series of payments to compensate the fishermen, the last of which was made in July in full and final settlement.”

Source:  Lynn News | 05 November 2013 | www.lynnnews.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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