New group opposes Bradwell N-plant

A NEW campaign group has been formed to fight plans to build a new nuclear power station in Essex.

Elliot Furniss

A NEW campaign group has been formed to fight plans to build a new nuclear power station in Essex.

Called BANNG (Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group), the organisation aims to “protect” the people and the environment of the Blackwater Estuary and its surrounding area by fighting proposals for a new nuclear power plant at Bradwell.

British Energy, which owns the land, said the station would provide jobs and investment for the area and said a similar project at Sizewell in Suffolk had proved this.

The campaign group is led by Mersea Island resident Professor Andy Blowers, who said there was a long-term high-level safety risk from the planned site.

He said: “There is a clear determination among the supporters of BANNG to oppose the development of a new nuclear station at Bradwell within two miles of Mersea Island.

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“The reality is that it will become a long-term high level waste dump with all the risks that entails.”

He said there was a strong feeling that the views of local communities were being “cynically ignored” and they were being kept in the dark.

Prof Blowers added: “BANNG is firmly committed to open and transparent Government and expects the nuclear industry and Government to make their proposals clear at the outset rather than take crucial decisions behind closed doors.”

The group was formed at the end of last month at a meeting of concerned West Mersea residents and has produced an “aims and purpose” statement.

BANNG will focus on raising public awareness in local communities, gathering information on the risks and actively challenging proposals for any further nuclear activity on the Bradwell site.

Its fears include the health impact on nearby communities caused by emissions to the air and discharges into the estuary, and the challenge of maintaining waste safely.

Sue Fletcher, spokeswoman for British Energy, which owns land earmarked for a new nuclear power station at Bradwell, said the UK needed new nuclear power in order to meet “ever-increasing” electricity needs.

She said: “Nuclear power provides long term low carbon electricity and we only have to look at Sizewell B's performance to see how safe, clean and reliable it is.

“Sizewell produces 3% of the UK's total electricity and avoids the emission of millions of tonnes of CO2 every year.

“Some 5,000 people were employed during the construction of Sizewell B and today over 500 people are employed directly by the station.”

She said there would be similar numbers of jobs created in a new power station, bringing “high quality employment” to the area and making a significant contribution to powering the low carbon generation.