The Environment Agency (EA) has released the information regarding how and when to make your comments on the proposed extension to Magnox’s nuclear waste discharge permit as we reported in Courier 640. The Courier has downloaded the documents, which are in the form of 150 Megabytes of pdf documents with no index or executive summary. Marine consultant Terri Portmann commented: “The files contain over 150mb of data and information, some will be very technical in nature. That this has been launched on the general public without an executive summary or even an index of where certain aspects of the evidence may be found is simply not good enough, the pdf format makes it difficult for most to search. The time table of 28 days, with no drop in sessions or events being held where locals can come along and ask questions and offer further evidence demonstrates to me that this its purpose is NOT meaningful consultation. There will be very technical aspects that the public are not expected to have knowledge of but there will be areas to do with the habitat, abundance of species to include fish and fauna and a broad base of local knowledge that could be tapped into if given the opportunity that could help inform. Locals will want to fully understand why there are no alternatives to this taking place because ‘need’ will be a criteria that must have been considered, people will want to know that the habitat and families will not be at risk in the short, medium and long term. If the Government was serious about meaningful engagement and consultation you would expect to see a 12-14 week consultation with drop in sessions where the public could come and ask questions and feedback could be collated, you would expect to see this early in the consultation. It may be appropriate for a consultation to take even longer where it falls over the Christmas period so in this case I would expect to see at least 16 weeks. Locals may want to make representations to the consultation team, MPs, Ministers, the Chair of the Environment Agency and voice concern about the complexity and short time frame for consultation.” She went on to say that the unlawful dumping of nuclear waste has continued for a longer period than the initial license allowed for. Terri and other experts recommend that the most effective response local residents can make is to write (or send an email) to the addresses below and copy in DEFRA, the Cabinet Office, and your MP to complain about this inadequate consultancy exercise pointing out that it is highly technical with no interpretation into laypersons’ language, no executive summary, and that the EA is holding no local stakeholder events at which explanations can be offered and questions asked. Responses should also mention that the existing permit has already been exceeded unlawfully. The draft decision documents, draft permits and supporting documents are available for download from https://ea.sharefile.com/d-s525eac10f764869a.
Courier No.641 30th October 2016 read more »