Liaison group told it is undemocratic’ – EADT Story

SIZEWELL: Anti-nuclear campaigners are refused membership

By David Green


A COMMUNITY liaison group has been accused of being “undemocratic” after it refused to allow an anti-nuclear group to become a member. The Sizewell Stakeholder Group (SSG) – set up to improve the flow of information between the nuclear site and the local community – voted 10-5 to reject an application for membership from the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign. However, the group voted 12-2 to approve a membership application from the newly-formed Suffolk Coastal branch of Friends of the Earth.  Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey voted against both applications but did not address the meeting on the issue.

The row over membership of the SSG came just over a week after groups opposing Sizewell C were refused entry to a “community engagement” seminar organised by Suffolk County and Suffolk Coastal District councils, which preparing for public consultations over the £6billion EDF Energy project.

Stakeholder groups have been set up at nuclear sites throughout the UK by the Government-appointed Nuclear Decommissioning Authority – which was created to oversee the decommissioning of nuclear plants at the end of their operating lifetimes. The NDA’s guidelines say the groups should attempt to be representative of all community interests, including the environment.  But Richard Smith, who stood down as SSG chairman at the meeting after nearly seven years in the post, said the NDA had made clear it was up to individual stakeholder groups to decide their membership.

“In the view of some members the group is large enough already ” he said.  Marianne Fellowes, the group’s new chair, said she was in favour of “inclusivity” and the group’s aspiration should be to widen its membership.

Pete Wilkinson, a Suffolk environment consultant and co-opted SSG member, said the group should “not be afraid of a challenge”.

After the vote, Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said: “It is totally undemocratic to prevent us having a formal voice in the SSG. Surely our voice should be heard.”

Tom Griffiths-Jones, who would have been the anti-nuclear group’s representative on the SSG, said it was currently dominated by “pro-nuclear” local politicians of all levels.  “It is quite clear that we fulfil the requirements and we should be a member in the interests of creating an appropriate balance,” he said.

East Anglian Daily Times Monday, June 11,2012