On Wednesday, 10 October, the National Assembly for Wales will vote on a motion to suspend the licence that is allowing mud from Hinkley Point nuclear reactor to be dumped in Welsh waters. The debate is expected to take place at 5pm, with a vote on the motion scheduled to take place at 6pm.
The motion was jointly tabled by Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives and calls for Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to suspend the marine licence it granted for the mud to be dumped.
Two further amendments, tabled by independent Assembly Member Neil McEvoy, call for a full Environmental Impact Assessment on the effect of the mud, to be carried out by NRW.
All opposition Assembly Members are expected to vote to support the motion and call for the mud dumping to be suspended. But the Labour group, which has a majority, has proposed its own amendment that would allow the mud dumping to continue, calling for further public engagement to reassure the public. However, two Labour AMs – Julie Morgan and Jane Hutt – have expressed their concern about the mud dumping, with Jane Hutt raising specific concerns about the lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment to carry out the dumping. The Labour group on Penarth town council has also issued a statement calling for the dumping to be halted.
The campaign to suspend the mud dumping has gained international attention in recent weeks after rock star Cian Ciaran, from the Super Furry Animals, took NNB Genco to court. NNB is an EDF subsidiary that is carrying out the mud dumping. Both parties later discontinued the case, agreeing to pay their own costs, with campaigners saying an injunction was unlikely to be successful now that there was a political opportunity to stop the dump.
Campaigners have also claimed that court documents show there is no specific Environmental Impact Assessment for mud to be dumped in the Cardiff Ground disposal site. As Cardiff grounds is within a Special Area of Conservation, the campaigners have stated that an EIA must is mandated under law, and that NRW’s granting of a licence, without a specific EIA, is unlawful.
A protest is planned to take place from 4:30pm, outside the National Assembly on the day of the vote. Previous protests in August and September have attracted hundreds of protesters.
Cian Ciaran, campaigner said;
“This Labour Government has taken the Welsh people for granted and has risked the health of the nation. For me the core message of the campaign remains unchanged; the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence and therefore the precautionary principle should dictate a rethink. We will continue to seek the answers the Welsh public deserve.”
Why wasn’t the Environment (Wales ) Act 2016 upheld requiring more evidence to be gathered in respect of uncertainties? Where is the paperwork stating that Cardiff grounds is a licenced dispersal site to begin with? The dumping continues so why isn’t the Rhodri Morgan FPV out there monitoring and policing the works carried out by NNB, especially in light of the recent reports regarding license violations. These are just a few of the many questions yet to be answered. It is a duty for every Welsh Assembly Member to do right by its people and hold to account the Government that granted the licence unlawfully in the first place”
Neil McEvoy AM said,
“Through our court case we have now established that the Welsh Labour Ministers are responsible for this whole debacle. They’ve risked the health of all of us by refusing to get the mud properly tested. Now they’re doing everything they can to stop the Assembly from voting to suspend the dumping licence until proper testing is done.
“Thanks to the cross party support of Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives, this matter will now be debated on 10th October in the National Assembly and we are asking the Welsh public to turn out in force to ensure the dumping is stopped.
“Labour need to know that Wales is not a dumping ground for other people’s waste. Some Labour AMs have expressed their concern about the dumping and we’ll see now if they have the courage to do the right thing and vote with their conscience.
“Finally as a campaign we’d like to thank everyone who has supported us so far, generously giving both their time and money to the cause. That support and pressure must be sustained going forward. The politicians and policy makers must be held to account.”