Campaigners protest as tip accepts radioactive waste

King's Cliffe villagers march in protest at radioactive waste being dumped at a nearby landfill site
King's Cliffe villagers march in protest at radioactive waste being dumped at a nearby landfill site
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CAMPAIGNERS opposed to a new low-level radioactive waste site have demonstrated against the arrival of the first consignments in King’s Cliffe.

More than 100 residents marched through the village on Saturday to voice their concern at the action being taken by waste firm Augean.

It followed the company’s announcement on Thursday that it had started receiving low level radioactive waste at its site close to the village.

Permission was given for the waste to be disposed of at the site following a public inquiry.

A legal challenge by protesters is due to be heard at the Court of Appeal on January 17.

Campaign group Wastewatchers organised the protest march. Spokesman Chris Leuchars said the news had “infuriated” local people.

He said: “Augean has started to dump the waste while court proceedings are still going on. We would like to show the people of King’s Cliffe and the surrounding villages are annoyed by that.

“Given Augean are just about to put in an application to extend the dump we want to show the people of King’s Cliffe have not settled down to the idea of nuclear waste.

“I think they wanted to put something in before the appeal is heard as that might add some weight to their argument.

“I think they will hopefully see we will not sit back and take it and accept the situation – the fact we are here shows we are not prepared to do that.

“It shows the powers that be the people of King’s Cliffe are still very much against it.”

He added he was “very hopeful” about the legal hearing later this month.

Debbie Joyce, of Collyweston, attended the demonstration. “She said: “If it affects the water course it could be 10 years before we know there is a problem. We are saying no-one knows if there will be.”

Peter Vernon, of Duddington, marched with his family. He said: “It will affect the youngsters who are going to live 30 or 40 years in this area. It is about money. We are a rural area and our lives will be blighted by a company which wants to make as much money as they can out of it.

“One man has decided this should go ahead and hasn’t really considered the lives of local people.”

John Brew, of West Street, King’s Cliffe, also supported the demonstration and said: “We are showing solidarity with the rest of the village, with everyone who is against it.

“The referendum was about 98 per cent in opposition.”

Augean group technical director of Augean Dr Gene Wilson said in a statement last week that all its operational staff at the site have been thoroughly prepared and trained.

“All the acceptance and disposal procedures were rigorously tested and inspected by the relevant regulatory authorities,” he said.

“For the initial consignments the Environment Agency and the Health Protection Agency were in attendance to ensure that the training had been effective and that Augean was fully compliant with the terms of the environmental permit and the health and safety requirements.”

He said the waste that had been disposed of at the site has come from watchmakers’ powder paint used to create luminous dials, contaminated soil from a flint-making factory, waste sourced for personal protective equipment and materials from decommissioning.

Dr Wilson also said the level of radiation was so small that it would contribute less than one per cent of the average exposure experienced by the public from natural sources in Northamptonshire.