Notice of Proposed Development (NoPD)
AWE does not need planning permission for its new developments. In 1994 the government promise to remove Crown Exemption from planning law, but this has never been implemented. However, Local Authorities should accept and consider objections, according to DoE Circular 18/84, Crown Lands & Crown Developments Part IV:

"In any case where strong objections are received, ..the authority
must decide whether…they should be supported….".

The Council has no power to refuse consent but, (in line with a policy statement in July 2000), Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoone has not claimed exemption from legislation on grounds of national security, therefore a NoPD should broadly be treated like an ordinary planning application.

Excerpt from Legal Issues affecting the AWE site (200k pdf file) by Jamie Woolley, NFLA Legal Adviser

! Action Alert !
West Berks. County Council (WBCC) has not published a NoPD with reference to AWE's Strategy Plan since the press alert in June 2002. One year on, it is now a good time to repeat calls for a Public Inquiry. Grounds include the requirement insisted upon by the European commission, that military nuclear practices must be justified. The MoD denies this applies. In the midst of this dispute the local authority cannot be sure that the activity at AWE is lawful.

If you wish to be kept informed by WBCC, ask to have your objection in principle noted, and request written notification of any application that you may wish to examine and comment on.

Write to:
Lisa Smith Senior Planning Officer, West Berks Council,
Market Street, Newbury RG14 5DL e-mail: lsmith@westberks.gov.uk

Parliamentary Questions
In a series of PQs on 11/12th June, Alan Simpson MP asked the Secretary of State for Defence, "what discussions the Government have had on the possibility of a follow-on to the Trident nuclear weapon (a) delivery system and (b) warhead. [118402] ". Geoff Hoone replied:
"The Government keep under appropriate review all options, including those relating to nuclear deterrence, consistent with their international legal obligations, for maintaining and enhancing national and international security. There are no current plans for any replacement of Trident and no decisions are yet needed. We stated in the New Chapter to the Strategic Defence Review, published last year (Cm 5566), that the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons have a continuing use as a means of deterring major strategic military threats, and they have a continuing role in guaranteeing the ultimate security of the UK. In line with the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, it is our policy to maintain a minimum capability to design and produce a successor to Trident should this prove necessary."

Similarly, in answer to another direct question, "whether scientific endeavours at AWE include research on new designs for nuclear warheads", Defence minister Dr. Lewes Moonie replied:
"There are no current plans for any replacement for Trident and no decisions are yet needed. In line with the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, it is our policy to maintain the capability to design and produce a successor weapon should this prove necessary."

So we'll take that as a Yes, then!

MoD Police (MDP) from AWE woo local school children
In February's edition of Talk Through, the MDP in-house magazine, PC Tina Crossley from AWE writes about her work in the community:
" Because of the many fences around this establishment and the nature of our role, it is a challenge at times to break down the barrier between us, the employees and the wider AWE community. This [school and fête visits] is a real ‘grass roots' way of making contact with all in an informal yet informative manner. Myself and PC Keith Archer (who is very handy at putting up tents and organising picnics!) attend schools and community functions, sometimes assisted by other PCs. www.mod.uk/linked_files/MDP/TT114part1.pdf

These events may give bored MDP officers a day out and some positive feedback, but there is no need for MDP to court the approval of children in the community. It gives the impression that nuclear weapons must be OK if such nice people are guarding them. Is this an abuse of children's trust and a lack of integrity in the MoD?

Public Information Booklet on an AWE Accidents
In May, AWE published the much delayed guidelines explaining what to do if there is a radiological accident on their sites An 11-page booklet and QUICK REMINDER card advises: GO IN / STAY IN / TUNE IN is to be distributed to households & businesses within 3Km of Aldermaston and 1.5 Km of Burghfield. It includes a form to apply to join the emergency telephone system.

Strategy Plan & Tritium Evaporator Planning Notice
West Berks. Planning Committee approved the Aqueous Waste Treatment Plant (AWTP) that is to replace the Pangbourne Pipeline by April 1st 2005. AWE and the Environment Agency spoke in favour of the plan while NAG warned of the long-term health risks from highly radioactive particles that will be discharged from this additional chimney stack. The need to see an end to production discharges was expressed by NIS.

The last NIS Update referred to the evaporation of tritiated water. This is incorrect. Tritiated water will not go through the evaporator, but is to be removed and sent down the sewer to Silchester sewage works.


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