Sunday, 10 July 2011

Greater transparency for low level radioactive waste

This week in Parliament I spoke out against the governments new legislation - (Draft Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011) - which will remove paperwork recording the disposal of low level radioactive waste including radioactive waste from the NHS.

In response to the minister, I questioned whether this was a wise move sighting the controversial example of decades old low grade waste which was been deposited on Oswaldtwistle Moor. (see notes)

Graham Jones: I welcome the Minister’s response and his assurance (on other matters), but a second element is access to public information. If there is a diminution in paperwork, can we put in place greater transparency as part of that reduction in unnecessary paperwork?
Gregory Barker: Yes, in fact, the process shows that there has been a great deal of transparency in the way we arrived at the rules and in the stakeholder engagement workshops. Transparency has underpinned our whole approach to getting to where we are now, and I anticipate that that high level of transparency in stakeholder engagement will be the hallmark of how we see the regulations going forward. That transparency will provide a great deal of public reassurance.
I argued that whilst the minister may wish to 'reduce paperwork', a euphemism for which means less acountability, the public has a right to know and there was a strong case that public should have easier access to information to allay suspicion and fear. Suspicion and fear not only of current deposits but of site relevant information that would pose a barrier to further deposits without public scrutiny.

Notes

Nuclear fears over Oswaldtwistle Moor wind farm rejected
From Lancashire Telegraph
25 Jan 2010 – ENVIRONMENT Agency chiefs have concluded a wind farm planned for Oswaldtwistle Moor would have no affect on nuclear waste buried nearby. ...

Oswaldtwistle Moor wind farm approved by councillorsFrom Lancashire Telegraph

3 Mar 2010 – TWELVE 120-metre high turbines are to be built on ...

Oswaldtwistle windfarm bid approved Accrington Observer
2 Mar 2010 – Oswaldtwistle windfarm bid approved. by Stuart Pike ... for vibrations to destabilise radioactive waste at the nearby Belthorn mineshaft, ...