Sizewell: Campaigner brands results of consultation into N-plant emergency zone ‘undemocratic’ and ‘bogus’

Safety chiefs have been looking at extending the emergency zone around Sizewell A and B nuclear powe

Safety chiefs have been looking at extending the emergency zone around Sizewell A and B nuclear power stations

Results of a consultation looking at proposed changes to safety procedures should there be an incident at one of Suffolk’s nuclear power stations were last night branded “bogus” and “undemocratic”.

Peter Lanyon, from the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, claims the figures concerning those who responded are “grossly” misleading.

The consultation was launched by The Suffolk Resilience Forum (SRF), which is responsible for drawing up safety procedures for the county’s nuclear sites.

Among a raft of measures it proposes extending the current emergency zone around Sizewell B from 2.4km to 4km – in line with international guidelines.

In a report detailing the responses it says 207 (74%) agreed with the recommendation, while some 50 (18%) were opposed and 24 (8%) were “neutral”. There had been a feeling among some that 4km was too small an area, especially as at events elsewhere, including the Fukushima disaster in Japan, people were evacuated within a 40km radius.

Mr Lanyon claims the figures quoted are severely skewed as his group alone is made up of 300 members – all of whom opposed the proposals. “It is quite clear that each of the organisations that responded was counted as a single response, just as was each individual resident’s response,” he said.

“So the view of each local resident carried the same weight as the view of an entire parish council or community group.

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“Whichever way you look at it, this bogus accounting demonstrates a gross democratic deficit on the part of the Suffolk Resilience Forum and the county council.”

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) will eventually decide on whether or not to extend the Sizewell emergency zone and Mr Lanyon has written to the watchdog to make them aware of his concerns.

He has also contacted Andy Fry, the county council’s director of public protection, and its chief executive, Deborah Cadman.

However he has been unsatisfied with the responses he has received.

“The ONR may have been similarly deluded into believing that communities local to Sizewell were happy with the proposed new emergency regulations,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the ONR said while the consultation provided a useful insight, it was compiled independently and would not specifically affect their final decision, which would be based on reports drawn up by site operators EDF Energy and Magnox.

She said she did not know when a decision was likely to be.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “Mr Lanyon’s complaint is being treated formally.

“The council’s customer complaints team are handling his case and will respond to him in the very near future.

“As this case is currently being considered it would not be appropriate to comment any further at this stage.”