Nuclear waste battle reaches the High Court

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RESIDENTS angry at the decision to allow nuclear waste to be dumped near their village have raised £10,000 to help fund a legal battle.

Campaigners organised quiz nights, safari suppers and yard and garage sales to raise the funds for the court case.

They hope it will overturn the decision to allow the waste to be dumped at Augean’s East Northants Resource Management Facility, in Stamford Road, King’s Cliffe.

They have also received personal donations towards a £30,000 target to meet the total costs of bringing the case. It is due to be heard at the High Court in London on Tuesday, November 2.

Villager Louise Bowen-West is bringing the case on behalf of the community of King’s Cliffe.

As well as fundraising, campaign group Waste Watchers are appealing for people who oppose the decision to travel to London for the court case.

Chris Leuchars, a King’s Cliffe resident and member of the group, said: “We have to bring some sense to the table.

“Originally, the Government banked on dozens of sites applying to take this material, but this has not happened.

“King’s Cliffe, which is more than 90 miles from the nearest decommissioned nuclear facility and several hundred miles from others, has become effectively the national disposal site.”

The claim was lodged in May with the High Court after the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, allowed an appeal by Augean for planning permission to accept low-level radioactive waste at the site until 2013.

Northamptonshire County Council had rejected the firm’s plans in March. More than 3,000 people signed a petition against Augean’s scheme, while 13 villages held referendums about the plans and 98 per cent of those voting objected.

The decision means the site can be used to treat rubble and soil from dismantled nuclear sites. The amount of waste the site can accept is restricted.

The Environment Agency has issued a permit for the new use.

Dr Gene Wilson, group technical director at Augean, said: “The decision of the Secretary of State was not made quickly or lightly. It followed the submission of the planning inspector’s recommendations to him, informed by a rigorous three-week planning inquiry where the application was the subject, in public, of intense and detailed scrutiny.

“The legal challenge being mounted relates to a narrow point of law and not the safety of the proposal or the soundness of its technical and policy merits.”