Press Release – 19 May, 2020
The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has repeated its call for the public consultation on plans for a new nuclear power station at Bradwell to be halted and rerun at a time when the coronavirus crisis is over. ‘We are amazed that the developer, CGN, is urging people to focus attention on the risks to environment and health from a possible future nuclear power station at Bradwell while families are trying to cope with the immediate threat to life and wellbeing from infection. It is impossible to participate fully in a consultation in conditions of social distancing,’ said Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG.
BRB’s response to lockdown was to cancel two-thirds of the planned public exhibitions around which the whole consultation was structured. ‘Having torn the heart out of the process, BRB is nevertheless persisting with its consultation by introducing virtual interactive activities and telephone surgeries as a substitute for the cancelled exhibitions. There is no way that the vitality of community interaction and critical discussion involved in face-to-face meetings can be achieved virtually’.
In a letter to Andrew Murdoch, Project Development Director at Bradwell B, Andy Blowers stated: ‘We maintain the view that continuing with the consultation, albeit extended, is unnecessary and inappropriate at a time when the country remains in partial lockdown. Accordingly, we must press again our view that the consultation be cancelled and rerun at a time when the public can be fully engaged through exhibitions, public meetings and other interactions’.
BANNG has also criticised the scope of the public consultation as unduly restrictive
by ruling out discussion ‘of the need for nuclear power and the choice of Bradwell as a potentially suitable site’. This statement by BRB is confusing and misleading. It needs to be clearly understood that the whole purpose of the consultation is the question of whether the site is suitable for the development of a new nuclear power station and its impacts on local communities and the environment.
It is not clear to BANNG why BRB is so anxious to press ahead at this time. A few months delay surely cannot be critical for a project that is at an early stage with none of the key issues yet confronted – design assessment, funding mechanism, radioactive waste management, climate change impacts – let alone resolved. The future of Bradwell B is at a delicate stage and attempting to railroad the public into responding now to a consultation when so many issues are up in the air is a futile exercise.
In his letter, Andy Blowers concludes: ‘BANNG remains of the view that the coronavirus epidemic creates a pause in many aspects of life, including working practices, social interaction and a shift from the public to the domestic realm. These are not the most appropriate circumstances in which to conduct a consultation on a future nuclear power station’.