Bridgwater speakers led the way today at the County Regulation Committee hearing to decide on the transport of intermediate nuclear waste to Hinkley Point from sites as far away as Dungeness and Sizewell. Bridgwater’s Labour County Councillors Leigh Redman and Dave Loveridge were joined by Town Council Leader Brian Smedley along with Civic Society Spokesman Alan Hurford and Stop Hinkley Expansion’s Sue Aubrey, in arguing the case against allowing a precedent that would see nuclear waste brought IN to the Hinkley Site. After a 2 hour meeting at Shire Hall the County Councillors present unanimously rejected the move. The Proposal was for a variation of condition 3 (waste storage) of planning permission 3/32/16/018 to ALLOW importation of size reduced intermediate level waste (ILW) skips from Magnox’s Oldbury, Sizewell A and Dungeness A sites to Hinkley Point A for interim storage at the on-site interim storage facility (ISF).
Labour County Councillors make the case against
Cllr Leigh Redman (Labour, Bridgwater South) addressed the committee saying “Your heart strings will be pulled as we go through the debate, you will be told that if you do not agree to this application, it will have a financial impact on all of us, as it will cost tax payers more to deal with this waste. This is irrelevant. If we want to split hairs I am happy to remind you, that the last published balance of the ‘Decommissioning funding account’ for the NDA, the parent company of Magnox, todays applicant, is almost £9 billion pounds with an annual budget from government of nearly £3.5 Billion. Back in 2005 this council agreed to allow two buildings to be built on the A station site, you can follow this in section 3.2 of your papers. Point 4 of the original 2005 decision clearly states :- There shall be no radioactive waste imported from outside Hinkley ‘A’ site; and only the waste (currently classed as Intermediate Level radioactive waste) that is in situ within the Hinkley ‘A’ station shall be stored on the site. So my questions to you is – what has changed? the answer is easy, nothing, most of the revised policies are still pretty much identical to those quoted, in simple terms, nothing has changed.The smart, policy driven reasons your previous colleagues wrote into a well thought out and argued planning decision was clear, in the building of this facility no radioactive waste from outside Hinkley A shall be stored in this building. Refuse this application, we have the grounds already set out for you, there should be no imported waste stored on the site at Hinkley Point A.”
Cllr Dave Loveridge (Labour, Bridgwater North) added “I want to speak specifically about the Inadequate safety preparation & lack of detail in the transport strategy. It was decided not to require an application specific ‘Environmental impact assessment’, I do not believe that the transport assessment or the plan put forward with this application constitutes a reasonable risk assessment. The question posed a number of times was, ‘what happens if there is an accident involving the radioactive waste on its journey to site’? My point is that we need to consider a full risk assessment with a detailed method statement, so that you can understand how this radioactive waste will be transported along the roads passed our homes, and what is in place to deal with the unlikely event should one of the 100 or so lorries be involved in an accident.”
Town Council Leader says ‘no benefit to Bridgwater’
Bridgwater Town Council had already voted to reject the application and sent Leader Cllr Brian Smedley (Labour, Bridgwater Westover) to the hearing to put their case. He said ” Magnox reps came to our town council and explained the proposal and took questions. But we still weren’t convinced by them. As is our right not to be. These are our reasons-
1) The 300 miles distance that the transportation will cover. This seems nonsensical when there are other potential sites closer to points of origin and anyway nuclear waste should be dealt with on the site where it was created and not transported around the country.
2) The transportation must raise concerns for the environmental and safety impact on affected communities. This will be coming from Sizewell …and from Dungeness, so if they head here at the same time then that’s a container going clockwise and a container going anti clockwise around the M25 at the same time – the only place that has more accidents and stationary traffic queues in the country than these 2 stretches of motorway are the 2 Bridgwater junctions
3) we are obviously concerned that no environmental statement was required as part of the application . So what exactly are the environmental implications? What happens if there is an accident involving the radioactive waste on its journey to site’? The original 2005 decision was that no radioactive waste shall be imported from outside Hinkley ‘A’ site; and only the Intermediate Level radioactive waste that is already on site at the Hinkley ‘A’ station shall be stored there – there’s no reason that this condition is no longer valid. Nothing has changed. It’s not necessary to do this and it’s potentially dangerous
4) Crucially this application provides no economic, social or environmental benefits to Bridgwater & surrounding area. So, do we have to simply , and yet again, with no by-pass provision, have to agree to these demonstrably unsafe loads going right through our town and past our houses yet again??
So my council is so concerned at this proposals that they have asked me, as their elected leader, to come here today and ask you to please turn this down. “
Magnox Plans Rejected
The mood of the committee was to turn down the proposals based on the lack of need to change from the original conditions. As councillors prepared motions to carry this out Magnox reps in the chamber attempted to interupt and make their case again but were ruled out of order by the Chairman. Next ot was the turn of nervous County legal officers to try to warn against making a decision without their being correct planning grounds. Cllr Leigh Redman interjected from the floor with a point of order urging resolve and the Chair moved to a vote.
The vote was unanimous and cross party, the attempt to transport nuclear waste across the country along some of the busiest roads in England and through Bridgwater to Hinkley Point was rejected.