Press Release – 14 July, 2020
At its meeting on 9 July, the full Maldon District Council (MDC) comprehensively refused to grant Planning Permission to the Chinese developer, BRB, to carry out further ground investigations at the Bradwell B site. 24 Councillors voted against the Planning Application, 2 abstained and the Leader excluded himself from voting. There were no votes in favour.
The Planning Officer advised that only the groundworks being applied for should be considered by the Council. In his view it would be ‘dangerous’ to bring the broader issue of the future power station into their considerations. But Councillors were almost unanimous in declaring that it was not possible to consider these works in isolation without taking into account the proposed massive nuclear power station for which these would be the precursor.
Councillors also expressed their concerns about: the lack of detail in the Planning Application; the bulk and scale of the works; the reality of BRB being able to restore the affected area in 5 years after the ‘devastation’ that would be caused by the investigative works; the disruption the works would cause in terms of noise level during the proposed long working hours – said to be in breach of MDC’s own policies; the light pollution that would be caused; the massive negative impact of the works on the local communities, wildlife and marine life; the question of discounting the objections on the impacts on the ecology of the area raised by the RSPB and the Essex Wildlife Trust and relying only on what had been said by Natural England, after it withdrew its objection to the application; and the detrimental impact on the heritage and landscape of the area.
But Councillors were most concerned not to ignore the bigger picture posed by the massive scale of the proposed new nuclear power station. Although the Maldon Land Development Plan said the Council supported a new power station in principle, this did not mean one many times the size of Bradwell A. The haste with which CGN was proceeding was questioned, given the Energy White Paper was not yet available and also at a time when the UK’s energy consumption had fallen. The notion that ‘temporary’ did not count as harm was questioned, as even if the works were temporary it would not be possible to replace e.g. species that could be harmed terminally by their seismic impact. The majority of Councillors was anxious to protect the landscape and heritage of the Dengie Peninsula.
In the end, the Council’s objections were narrowed down to the following: the impact of noise and disturbance on the communities and ecology of the area; the impact on the historical environment and archaeology. In addition, the Council believed that it would not be possible to return the area affected by the groundworks to its original condition.
It was left to the Chair, Councillor Boyce, and the Planning Officer to formulate the wording for the refusal.
The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) greeted the news with some amazement. ‘Maldon District Council Councillors deserve a cheer for their refusal of this application. They have understood what BANNG has been stressing for a long time, that it is not possible to consider CGN’s Planning Applications for more minor works only as they are, but as precursors of a massive new nuclear power station,’, said Prof. Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG. ‘What happened at the Council meeting was a rehearsal of Councillors’ clear opposition to Bradwell B itself’.
Contact: Varrie Blowers,
BANNG Secretary & Press Officer
Mobile: +44 7932 644482