Press Release – 13th April 2020
In the past weeks BANNG has been writing to the Chinese developer of Bradwell B pressing it to cancel its pre-application public consultation on its proposals for a new nuclear power station and long-term, highly radioactive waste stores at Bradwell and, if necessary, rerun it when the country is in a more normal situation.
‘By persisting in carrying on with this consultation, the developer assumes the public will be willing to engage at a time when they are distracted and distressed and fully focused on survival during the present coronavirus crisis. Come hell or high water it seems the Chinese company is intent on pressing ahead regardless’, said Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG.
In response to BANNG, the company claims that the Bradwell proposal ‘is a nationally significant project for which there is an urgent need and it is in the public interest, including in light of the COVID-19 crisis, that consideration of this proposed development is not indefinitely or even substantially delayed.’
Andy Blowers commented, ‘it is preposterous to assert that there is an urgent national need for a project which cannot at the very best be operating until the 2030s. In fact, there is no need for nuclear in the energy mix of the future and, in any case, a few months delay in the progress of such an expensive and long-term project would make very little difference. We can only suspect that this undue haste is an attempt to secure some public and political support for a faltering project.’
The public response has, in fact, been negative. BANNG’s own face-to-face survey of 10,000 people revealed overwhelming opposition. This is confirmed in the public responses to the planning application for investigative ground works for Bradwell B now before Maldon District Council. And, it was most visibly revealed in the five public exhibitions that did take place, notably those in Maldon and Bradwell.
The remaining ten exhibitions were cancelled in view of social distancing restrictions on public gatherings. In place of the remaining exhibitions online, interactive material and ‘pre-booked telephone surgeries’ have been introduced.
‘We do not consider the extension of the consultation with additional virtual activities can in any way substitute for the real life opportunity given to question, engage, criticise and oppose.’
‘This opportunity has been denied to substantial parts of the Blackwater community, notably those on the northern side of the estuary in Mersea, Tollesbury and Brightlingsea. It is highly likely that these would have been well attended with people anxious to have their say about proposals which will massively affect their environments, safety, security and wellbeing and those of generations to come.
‘The consultation has exposed the proposals for what they are – a massive, destructive, damaging and dangerous project that will inflict harm on precious environments, impose a major blot on a peaceful and harmonious landscape and introduce risks to the communities of the Blackwater and far beyond. By continuing with a consultation where some communities are denied an opportunity to make their voice heard face-to-face and at a time when the population of the country is facing more immediate existential issues, is both irresponsible and reprehensible’, said Any Blowers.