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  6. Nuclear waste scheme allowed on appeal by Pickles

Nuclear waste scheme allowed on appeal by Pickles

An appeal by waste company Augean to landfill solid decommissioning waste from former nuclear sites over a two-year period at an existing hazardous waste facility in Northamptonshire has been allowed by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

The proposals, which involve what is classified as very low or low level radioactive waste (LLW), was opposed by the county council as well as residents in the vicinity of the site at Stamford Road, King’s Cliffe, a village six miles equidistant from Stamford and Oundle.

The inspector who held a public inquiry last autumn recommended that the appeal should succeed, a stance agreed by the Secretary of State.

Pickles’ decision letter said that the risk of actual harm from the development would be very low and that the proposals were in line with Government waste policy. The Environment Agency said the scheme would meet all regulatory and environmental principles in the relevant legislation and has granted the company a permit for the scheme.

This permit allows Augean to treat and landfill waste such as building rubble and soil from dismantled nuclear sites. The permit also puts restrictions on the amount of waste the site accepts to ensure levels remain well below natural background levels.

The Communities Secretary acknowledged local concern and what he termed “the widespread perception of harm” but attached “only limited weight to this”.

The letter added: “Having weighed up all relevant considerations, the Secretary of State concludes that that the factors which weigh in favour of the proposed development outweigh the limited harm which he has identified. Therefore he does not consider that there are any material considerations of sufficient weight which would justify refusing planning permission.”

Read the decision letter.


Roger Milne

2 June 2011