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BANNG – Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group launched
An action group opposed to the building of a possible new nuclear power station at Bradwell was launched at a meeting of committed citizens of West Mersea on 28th. April. The group has taken the name BANNG, Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group.
The meeting adopted a statement of Aims and Purpose. It will ‘seek to protect the people and environment of the River Blackwater estuary and its surrounding area, now and in the future, from the risks and dangers of radioactivity by preventing the further development of nuclear activity in the estuary’.
BANNG will focus on raising public awareness in local communities, gathering information on the risks and actively challenging proposals for any further nuclear activity on the Bradwell site. It will support the early and effective clean up of the existing site. And it will call for open and transparent decision making on the part of Government and the nuclear industry in which the local community is fully involved.
In raising public awareness BANNG will emphasise that a new station will be an immense project, quite different from the old plant. It is likely to have six times the generating capacity creating a massive body of nuclear wastes, including highly active spent fuel, which will have to be stored on site for at least fifty years.
Among the concerns of BANNG are
The prospect of inundation of the Bradwell site as sea levels rise
The health impacts on nearby communities caused by emissions to the air and discharges into the estuary
The impacts on the estuary and its fishing and ancient oyster industries
The problem of maintaining wastes safely
The possible risks from terrorist attack
The visual intrusion, noise and blight caused by a major industrial complex on a peaceful and recreational estuary
The concern that the wishes of the community as expressed in an Ipsos-Mori poll for a fully restored site are being completely ignored
The problem of protecting, and possibly evacuating, the public in the event of a major emergency.
BANNG is very concerned that the new fast track planning procedures will severely restrict the rights of local communities to participate in crucial decisions affecting them. The Action Group is determined to ensure that the community’s voice is heard and listened to both at national and local level.
Over the next weeks and months BANNG will recruit supporters, organise petitions and hold meetings in communities around the Blackwater estuary. It will present its concerns to local councils, MPs and other bodies and prepare to challenge the nuclear industry and Government at every stage in decision making.
At its meeting BANNG organised itself into working groups to carry forward this work. It will be led by a Core Group of: Professor Andy Blowers (Chair), Barry Turner (Vice-Chair), Charles Clark (Treasurer), Varrie Blowers (Secretary and Public Relations), Nolly Urquhart and Imogen Gosling (Administration) and Lesley Mullins (Community Awareness).
After the meeting, Prof. Blowers commented: ‘There is a clear determination among the supporters of BANNG to oppose the development of a new nuclear station at Bradwell within two miles of Mersea Island. The reality is that it will become a long-term high level waste dump with all the risks that entails. There is a strong feeling that the views of local communities are being cynically ignored and that we are being kept in the dark. First, we need to find out what is going on and then oppose it at every stage. BANNG is firmly committed to open and transparent government and expects the nuclear industry and Government to make their proposals clear at the outset rather than take crucial decisions behind closed doors’.
Contacts: Varrie Blowers 07932 644482 (Varrieblowers [at] yahoo.com)
Andy Blowers 01234 354947(A.T.Blowers [at] open.ac.uk)