NAG Objection to the AWE Laser Proposal


West Berkshire County Council Eastern Area Planning Committee 23rd November 2005 NAG Objection to the AWE Laser Proposal



The absence of an Environmental Impact Assessment still after all this time has to be a matter of great concern. The 1998 Strategic Defence Review, in its environmental appraisal, stated

“Where a number of the SDR activities are not considered to have a significant environmental impact in their own right, but are proposed for the same site, there is the potential for cumulative effects to occur. This situation might arise at the following locations where more detailed studies are recommended”. Aldermaston is one of the locations listed.

It may well be that the reason we do not have an EIA in relation to the laser is that the cumulative effects of the package “Orion” is part of are either not known because the nature of the package is not yet known or not divulgeable in advance of the Government publishing its decision concerning Aldermaston’s long term future. We understand that this is due to happen soon, so that either way it would not be inappropriate for the Council’s deliberations on “Orion” to be held over until such time as AWE are in a position to provide an EIA, and both you and we the public have had the opportunity to evaluate it. At this point in time the indications from the amount of financial and manpower investment in Aldermaston are that we are looking at a long term package. This cannot be ignored, it has implications for the public. It is one thing for a Council to pass an 18/84 proposal unaware that it has wider environmental implications, but another for a Council to pass one blind but knowing that wider implications are likely. That is the danger this evening.

From time to time NAG gets contacted by people planning to move to Tadley, Burghfield Common, Ufton Nervet, Padworth, Mortimer, asking for our view on how safe it is to move close to AWE Aldermaston. These questions are difficult to answer.

Recently we heard from someone planning to buy a house in Burghfield Common. Her estate agent had told her that he thought AWE was a water treatment plant. I am not making this up. I suppose its true in a way – they treat our air as well as our water. What was new this time was that the concern was as much over the terrorist target problem as over radiation.

We therefore re-iterate the request which we made at the outline stage, and which was ignored, that this massive carbuncle which will be a landmark alongside the A340, be situated further into the site. The same applies to all the other new plans AWE have to refurbish their site. AWE is not the place , in present circumstances, for highly visible new structures. Dont forget, we are tying to prevent Iran from doing what AWE are doing.