The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has submitted a new planning application to West Berkshire Council for a warhead components manufacturing facility at AWE Burghfield.
The planned conventional manufacturing rationalisation facility (CMR facility) will play a key role in the future of the UK's nuclear weapons programme. It will bring together a number of precision manufacturing processes needed to manufacture the non-nuclear parts of a nuclear weapon, and will contain facilities for various metalworking processes, ceramics machining, and quality assurance and inspection - activities which are are essential in the construction and refurbishment of nuclear warheads. The facility will also be used to manufacture exact replicas of weapon components for use in research, development, and trials.
AWE has already submitted one planning application for this facility, and planning permission was granted for the project back in August 2008. However, because of a delay in starting construction work, the original planning permission is set to expire soon. AWE say that construction of the new facility has not yet commenced because resources have been directed towards higher priority projects.
Please write to West Berkshire Council to object to this new planning application. Points to make to the Council are:
- Key information about the processes which will be undertaken in the new building and their environmental impacts has never been disclosed to the Council, so it is impossible for the planning committee to judge whether it will pose a risk to public safety.
- The AWE Burghfield site is situated in a flood risk area. Because of building work and site levelling work which has taken place at AWE Burghfield over the past three years, the site topography has changed since a flood risk assessment was prepared for the facility. A new flood risk assessment should be submitted with the new planning application.
- There are good reasons for setting a time limit to planning applications. Extending the time limit for construction will prolong the period over which local residents will face nuisance and inconvenience as a result of building work.
- The road network in the vicinity of AWE Burghfield is not suitable for construction traffic and significant damage has already been done to the surface of Burnthouse Lane as a result of construction traffic travelling to AWE Burghfield.
- West Berkshire Council must not grant AWE any special favours by extending the timescale for this application in a way that would not be allowed for any other applicant.
Please send your objection to West Berkshire Council by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by letter to:
West Berkshire Council
Please quote the planning application reference number 11/00029/XCOMIN. The deadline for submitting objections is 16 March 2011, although objections considered after this date will still be considered by the Council.