NAG has written to the Planning Inspector who will be conducting the Boundary Hall public inquiry to give our views on development in the vicinity of Atomic Weapons Establishment sites. Public safety must come first, according to NAG, and the Inspector should turn down the application for a proposed housing development on the Boundary Hall site.
The Boundary Hall site is close to AWE Aldermaston's perimeter fence and is the proposed location for development of 115 new houses. However, the site falls within the emergency planning zone for AWE Aldermaston, an area in which the Health and Safety Executive specifies that development should be controlled to limit the number of people at risk in the event of a radiological emergency at AWE Aldermaston.
The recent fire at AWE Aldermason (3 August 2010) shows that accidents can and do happens, and required the evacuation of a small number of residents from an area to the east of the factory. Even though only 14 people were evacuated, the task placed significant strains on local police resources. The proposed Boundary Hall development would be a residential estate of a much larger scale, and evacuating an estate of this size would be much more complex in the event of an emergency.
NAG considers that the Planning Inspector should not permit the proposed residential development at Boundary Hall, and thus send out a clear signal that public safety must come before the gains from development around AWE sites. The Boundary Hall site must be put to an alternative use which is compatible with emergency planning needs.
The public inquiry into the Boundary Hall planning application will take place at the Civic Offices, London Road, Basingstoke, commencing at 10.00 am on 12 October 2010. The inquiry is scheduled to last for eight days. Written observations can be sent to the Planning Inspectorate, Room 4/104, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN. Letters should quote the Inspectorate's case reference number APP/HI705/V/10/2124548 and three copies should be provided. The closing date for comments is 31 August 2010.
To read NAG's letter to the Inspector in full please click on the link below.