Dumping of radioactive waste begins at King’s Cliffe site

Photo: SM021211-038ow.jpg'Protester Peter Kerruish at the Augean landfill site near King's Cliffe.
Photo: SM021211-038ow.jpg'Protester Peter Kerruish at the Augean landfill site near King's Cliffe.
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A disposal company has begun dumping low-level radioactive waste at its site in King’s Cliffe.

The decision to allow Augean to dump such waste at the East Northants Resource Management Facility in Stamford Road, was upheld at the High Court in November.

But campaigners have won the right to appeal against the decision and the appeal will be heard later this month.

The judge refused to grant an order barring Augean from dumping the waste and the company said in a statement on Wednesday that it had “implemented” its planning permission, which has allowed it to thoroughly test its operational systems.

The protesters told the Mercury they were disappointed by Auguean’s decision.

Clare Langan, one of the protesters, said: “The court action is less than two weeks away so we don’t understand why they couldn’t wait until that has taken place.

“If we lose at the Court of Appeal and they say it can go ahead, then we have to accept that.”

The campaigners are now planning a protest march in King’s Cliffe tomorrow.

Protest group spokesman Chris Leuchars said: “This protest march shows Augean that we are not giving up the fight and that we are still annoyed and upset.”

They will meet in Hall Yard, King’s Cliffe, at 9am and will then walk through the village carrying banners, placards and posters.

About 20 campaigners demonstrated at the entrance of the site in December and six men were arrested during that demonstration, including Mr Leuchars. They were all released on police bail.

Augean group technical director of Augean Dr Gene Wilson said in the statement 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.