12 Oct 2015

Bradwell nuclear power station

Some resources

Survey of local politicians' responses to new nuclear power station at Bradwell

In April 2015 at the beginning of the Election Campaign, the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) wrote to all the Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidates whose constituencies are affected by the Bradwell nuclear sites.

Candidates were asked to declare their opposition to: any proposals for new nuclear power stations and radioactive waste storage at Bradwell; the prospect of Bradwell becoming a regional nuclear waste storage site; and the continuing discharges of radioactive substances into the Blackwater estuary as a result of dissolved fuel element debris (FED).

Positive responses supporting BANNG’s opposition to the three key issues were received from the Green Party candidates for the five constituencies: Chris Southall (Clacton), Mark Goacher (Colchester), Chris Flossman (Harwich & North Essex), Robert Graves (Maldon), James Abbott (Witham).

Positive responses were also received from Bernard Jenkin (Conservative, Harwich & North Essex), Edward Carlsson-Browne (Harwich & North Essex), Mark Hughes (UKIP, Harwich & North Essex) and Tim Young (Labour, Clacton).

Peter Edwards (Labour, Maldon) has expressed reservations about new nuclear development at Bradwell.

Priti Patel (Conservative, Witham) gave BANNG’s Manifestoes and Briefing Notes to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and asked it to respond. The response did not tell BANNG anything the group did not already know. Ms. Patel was told this and was asked to give her own views but has not done so.

No response has been received from:
  • Clacton Consituency: Giles Watling (Conservative), David Grace (Lib.Dem.), Douglas Carswell (UKIP)
  • Colchester Constituency: Will Quince (Conservative), Jordan Newell (Labour), Sir Bob Russell (Lib.Dem.), John Pitts (UKIP)
  • Harwich & North Essex: Dominic Graham (Lib.Dem.)
  • Maldon Constituency: John Whittingdale (Conservative), Zoe O’Connell (Lib.Dem.), Beverley Acevedo (UKIP)
  • Witham Constituency: John Clarke (Labour), Josephine Hayes (Lib.Dem.), Garry Cockrill (UKIP)
Those responding positively gave comments to BANNG.
  • Bernard Jenkin said: ‘I am against any new nuclear build at Bradwell….’…. ‘I remain concerned that the oscillating tides in the estuary are not enough to ensure that there is not a build up of sediment associated with the discharge of FED.’ …. ‘I am not at all happy with the idea that radioactive waste should be transported to Bradwell for storage or burial.’.
  • Edward Carlsson-Browne wrote: ‘I don't think that the deals the government has struck to build nuclear power stations make economic sense and even if they did I don't think Bradwell would be a suitable site….’. ‘I'm opposed to the discharge of radioactive material into the Blackwater estuary and I don't think Bradwell is a suitable site for the storage of nuclear waste materials, not least because there's still no safe way of disposing of it.’.
  • Mark Hughes commented: ‘I do oppose further development at Bradwell’. …. ‘I do not support the storage of spent fuel at Bradwell due to the population in and around the Blackwater and neighbouring areas.’.
  • Tim Young said: ‘I sign up to the three bullet points as requested. I am against any new nuclear power station or waste storage site at Bradwell and oppose discharges into the Blackwater estuary.’.
  • James Abbott reflected the views of the Essex Greens, saying: ‘We have no hesitation in supporting all of your manifesto pledges.’ …. ‘Essex Greens have also long advocated the safe decommissioning of Bradwell and no new nuclear facilities of any kind on site’.
  • While expressing concern about the job opportunities for people living in the Maldon constituency, Peter Edwards believes ‘safety has to come first when considering any plan for Bradwell.’. …. ‘The risk of flooding and the demand for cooling water for a more powerful reactor present considerable hurdles to a new development.’…. ‘I do not want to rush into a new nuclear development at Blackwater.’

Professor Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG, said: ‘BANNG is pleased with the positive responses it has received supporting opposition to new nuclear development and spent fuel storage at Bradwell. Moreover, these responses come from across the political spectrum. We have not received any responses supporting new nuclear power at Bradwell. We are naturally disappointed that fourteen of the twenty-five candidates invited did not respond on an issue which, over several years, has been of considerable concern to their potential constituents.’

BANNG's letter

On 31 March 2015 BANNG wrote to all prospective parliamentary candidates in the constituencies affected by Bradwell – Clacton, Colchester, Harwich and North Essex, Maldon and Witham - as follows:

Dear Candidate,

The possibility of new nuclear development with radioactive waste stores at Bradwell is an issue of considerable public interest and concern.

Since 2008 the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has raised public awareness, responded to Government consultations on a wide range of issues and held discussions with local MPs, local councils, the Bradwell site operators, the Environment Agency and many other organisations. On the basis of the evidence we have gathered, including a face-to-face petition signed by 10,000 people, we know that the prospect of new nuclear reactors and storage of spent fuel at Bradwell is overwhelmingly opposed by people living around the Blackwater and neighbouring areas.

Now that the General Election campaign has been launched, WE ARE CALLING ON ALL CANDIDATES IN AFFECTED CONSTITUENCIES:

  • to declare their opposition to any proposals for new nuclear power stations and radioactive waste storage at Bradwell(on the grounds of potential threats to safety, security, environmental protection and public health affecting the present and future generations);
  • to declare their opposition to the continuing discharges ofradioactive substances into the Blackwater estuary; 
  • to declare their opposition to the prospect of Bradwell becoming a regional nuclear waste storage site.
Attached you will find a Briefing Document covering these specific areas of concern.

We have also provided three separate brief Manifestoes highlighting the key areas.

We would urge you to use the documents provided to promote these concerns and to prevent degradation and danger to the Blackwater on behalf of those constituents you hope to represent.

We should appreciate your comments and an indication that you will make opposition to new build at Bradwell and radioactive discharges into the Blackwater estuary important planks of your campaign for election.

We look forward to hearing from you. Please reply to me by e-mail at: varrieblowers@yahoo.com

Yours sincerely,

Varrie Blowers, Secretary and Media Relations Officer,
Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG)