This has been a challenging year.

We drew the attention of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee to the effects a replacement Trident programme could have on the health and safety of the local population, but to no avail. We have been watching the preparatory build-up at AWE Aldermaston for some time.

We continue to monitor AWE Planning applications, mostly having to draw attention to the gaps in the accompanying Environmental Impact Assessments, which treat soil and groundwater contamination as something that can be worried about as the foundation earthwork progresses. We also raised traffic-related concerns over the new office accommodation proposals. The good news is that the plan to build 237 homes at Paices Hill have been withdrawn, and Kennet Valley Park, a proposed 7,500 home – and amenity estate just outside the evacuation zone for AWE Burghfield, is being re-thought.

We attended CORWM meetings concerning the Government plan to put the UK’s accumulated radioactive waste in a hole in the ground; the location continues to be a conundrum. Meanwhile, AWE’s ILW accumulated over 25 years sits in W. Berkshire without the consent let alone the compensation of local people, with no prospect of its removal on the horizon.

It has been a challenging year – it was therefore with sinking hearts that we learned that AWE Burghfield is in trouble. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate’s request for a revised risk assessment dates back to 2002. It required management to attend to a substantial number of defects, most with potential public safety implications. Many of these structural and work practice faults have still not been put right. On top of this, Burghfield suffered severe flooding in July, affecting buildings on the site.

A challenging year indeed. The good news is that despite such a gloomy picture, our officers are prepared to carry on, believing that the work that NAG does needs doing, and that at some long-term level, it is useful.