Calls for Bradwell B new nuclear power station public consultation to be halted.
In the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, Bradwell B has cancelled two-thirds of the exhibitions it had planned as part of its public consultation on its proposals for a new nuclear power station. But, the company is still calling for feedback on its plans to be given at any time up to 27th May 2020.
The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has protested that the partial consultation will be only partially informed and consequently feedback will be unrepresentative of the views of the whole of the Blackwater communities. Prof. Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG has written to the Chinese company developing the proposals urging that the consultation be terminated altogether.
‘We have already pointed out that the consultation is premature, taking place before detailed discussions with the regulators have begun and years before a full application for permission to develop could be made. It is incomprehensible that Bradwell B (BRB) is pressing on with a partially completed process, the more so now while people are distracted with the epidemic in full swing.’
The exhibitions that did take place were well attended, engaging in robust discussion where citizens were able to question the plans and make clear in face-to-face exchanges with company staff their concerns about the imposition of a massive nuclear complex on the Dengie peninsula. The meetings at Maldon and Bradwell Village were well attended, informative and occasionally emotional.
‘There is really no substitute for direct interaction and scrutiny of plans. Responding online or by post is obviously valuable but a one-dimensional form of participation. In any case there are substantial numbers who do not have ready access to online information and who may be unable to visit the places where information is provided.’
Exhibitions were cancelled at ten places, including the only three to the north of the Blackwater at Mersea, Tollesbury and Brightlingsea. This means that there will be no direct face-to-face feedback from these areas on issues of concern, such as the impact of cooling water, the problem of emergency planning, threats to precious habitats and marine ecosystems, storage of radioactive wastes and other matters.
In his letter to BRB, Andy Blowers comments: ‘A partially completed consultation can only result in a partial understanding of issues of concern to the public. By terminating the exhibitions the full extent of public concern will not be manifested’.
BANNG, therefore, urges BRB to cancel the consultation as a whole and to re-run it at a later date, if the company still thinks it worth proceeding with the project.
(Andy Blowers’ letter has been copied to the Office for Nuclear Development, Environment Agency, Office for Nuclear Regulation, Infrastructure Planning Inspectorate and the Rt. Hon. Sir Bernard Jenkin, MP.)
Contact: Varrie Blowers, BANNG Press Officer