Nuclear marsh plan on agenda

CONTROVERSIAL plans to consider creating a nuclear waste dump under the fields of Rye are to be discussed next Wednesday (September 19) at a crunch meeting.

Shepway District Council is currently exploring the possibility of a nuclear disposal facility which would see nuclear waste from all over the UK being buried under Romney Marsh.

It believes the £12 billion facility could create jobs in the Rye area when the Dungeness A and B power stations are phased out.

But opponents of the plan argue it could have a disastrous impact on the environment.

Shepway councillors will be discussing a number of recommendations at Wednesday’s meeting, including submitting an expression of interest to the Government.

It went out to public consultation to get residents’ views from Romney Marsh and 1066 Country, with most opposing the scheme.

Rye MP Amber Rudd said: “Over my dead body. I wholly oppose it and I don’t know why Shepway District Council is even considering it. I will fight it with every fibre in my body. Romney Marsh is a completely inappropriate place to put it.”

Chris Strangeways, from the Rother Environmental Group, said: “It’s a complete nonsense and Shepway councillors are making themselves a laughing stock. It’s absolutely ludicrous and one of the most ridiculous ideas I have heard in a long time.”

Rye councillor and leader of East Sussex County Council, Peter Jones, said: “We have serious concerns about these proposals in a location close to our border. We believe the plan doesn’t stack up and has many unknowns including geology, economic benefit, infrastructure and community support.”

Shepway District Council says the area will lose 1,000 jobs and around £46 million a year from the local economy when the power stations are fully de-commissioned in 2018 or 2023.

Cllr David Godfrey, who is leading the project for the council, said it would be inappropriate to comment ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.

But he said: “We have always said that if there was an overwhelming majority against this proposal we would not go ahead with it.”

Rye does not come under Shepway District Council but the waste dump would be far closer to Rye than Shepway’s Folkestone base.

The facility, if built, would be between 656 and 3,280ft below ground. Waste would be stored in secure containers buried within the rock. Once full the facility would be permanently sealed.

Supporters claim geological disposal, such as this, keeps the waste secure from terrorists.

There has been no discussion yet on how the waste would be transported to the Rye area although it is believed the main journey would be by rail.

Above ground the area would cover about a square kilometre and may include a visitor centre. The size of the underground facility is yet to be decided.