Radioactive waste plans thrown out

Campaigners against radioactive waste being dumped at a rural site are celebrating after a council committee voted against the controversial plan.

All eight members of Northamptonshire County Council's development control committee rejected Augean Plc's proposals to deposit low level nuclear waste at their site in King's Cliffe, despite planning officers advising the councillors to approve the scheme.

The decision at County Hall in Northampton yesterday was met with applause and followed three hours of speeches by about 20 contributors, most of who were opposed to the plan, as well as questions and discussion.

A petition of 3,077 signatures against the application was submitted and there were more than 200 individual representations sent to the county council.

Campaigners and councillors said the committee's decision sent a nationwide message that nuclear waste should be disposed of as near as possible to the origin and not be transported hundreds of miles.

Chairman of the committee, Cllr Ben Smith, said that driving rubble and contaminated soil 90 miles across the country "must be crazy".

He said: "The treatment should take place on the site where the problem arises and quite frankly this must surely send a message out to anybody contemplating nuclear energy."

Corby Council objected to the plan amid concerns it would become the highway to the dump.

During their three-minute speeches, representatives of the company tried to convince members that the small level of radioactive waste would not be of harm to the health of staff and the wider public as well as the ecology or environment.

Dr Gene Wilson from Augean said: "This would not set a precedent because there are already two sites that have got planning permission to take this waste."

But Cllr David Hugheston-Roberts said the authority's campaign for a cleaner, greener, healthier and safer county would be compromised by giving the application the green light.

King's Cliffe Parish Council chairman, Andrew Howard, also addressed councillors. After the meeting, he said: "This is a resounding 'no'. The people of King's Cliffe will be relieved and pleased.

"The country needs to find a solution to the depositing of nuclear waste but depositing it in small waste tips across the country is not that solution."