New Housing Estate Proposed Opposite AWE Citadel

 West Berkshire County Council has published a Planning Application from City And Capital (UK) Ltd. to build 237 new dwellings on the old Banger Racing Track, Paices Hill, Aldermaston. The site is near the plutonium and weapons production plant known as ‘the Citadel’ across the road at AWE. The Statutory 8 week date, by which time the Applicant can expect to have a decision, is given as 19th September 2005.
Of all the places to bring up a young family, a home right next to a nuclear weapons plant must be the most unattractive. Concerns may range from the possibility of a nuclear accident to the steady release of nuclear waste, however limited these days, from inside the wire. One serious concern must be that of land contamination. We are not talking about radon – a natural radioactive gas well known in Cornish granite, but man-made Plutonium. The proposal term “remove” is used to describe what will happen to the Banger Racing Track, and perhaps gives a clue to the problem. This removal may involve plutonium-contaminated soil, which would then have to be stored indefinitely as radioactive waste.
In its recent 10th Report on The incidence of childhood cancer around nuclear installations, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) stated:
We found an excess of leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) near Burghfield, Dounreay and Sellafield. Aldermaston, Burghfield and Harwell showed a significantly raised incidence of solid tumours in their vicinity.
Unlike AWE plans submitted by the Ministry of Defence, these plans can be refused permission by local planners in the public interest. It would seem reasonable for every inch of this land to be examined and a full report published before anyone could be confident that it is a safe site. And even then, it could be hard to guarantee that vegetables and deep-rooted fruit would carry no risk to health, as only a speck of plutonium needs to be eaten or inhaled to cause cancer.
Anyone wishing to object to the plan may do so by quoting the Application Number: 05/01397/OUTMAJ and writing to  Lisa Smith,  Planning Officer, West Berks. Council, Market Street, Newbury RG14 5DL.  Telephone: 01635 519111  Fax: 01635 519408
The Planning Application can be viewed at the Council offices or at

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