Nuclear expert Tim Deere-Jones castigates the Welsh Labour Government’s handing of the mud dumping issue – saying “ This is a government which has extolled the virtues of open government and transparency and yet, on the issue of radioactive mud dumping, it seems to me that it has behaved in the opposite manner”

A group of 40 local “Nuclear Free” local authorities has now been told by marine radioactivity consultant Tim Deere-Jones how the Welsh Labour Government manouvered to cut-short full consideration of the plans to dump thousands of tons of allegedly radioactive mud off Penarth. 

The 40 Nuclear Free Local Authorities in the UK (the NFLA) – have welcomed the weekend decision by French energy company EDF to postpone until September the dumping off Penarth of sediment dredged offshore from the Hinkley Point nuclear power complex.

The Hinkley Point nuclear power complex in Somerset – as seen from Penarth

The dumping of 320,000 tonnes of allegedly radioactive mud was due to be started at the Cardiff Grounds,  a mile off shore from Penarth,  tomorrow –  Thursday August 16th 2018. EDF had given the Welsh Government regulator, Natural Resources Wales, only the absolute minimum amount of advance notice required by their licence – just 1o days.

Then on Friday August 10th there was an unexplained about-turn from EDF – who then told Natural Resources Wales the mud dumping would take place some time in “September” – but didn’t give a precise date .

Marine pollution consultant Tim Deere-Jones

The NFLA say that independent marine radioactivity consultant Tim Deere-Jones – who was behind the earlier petition against the mud dumping scheme.

Deere-Jones has  now set out why he thinks the Welsh Labour Government “cut short” full consideration of the public petition he initiated . He says  :-

“The Senedd Petition Committee hearings of evidence, in response to the public petition to postpone the dump and initiate a full Welsh Environmental Impact Assessment on the proposal, was cut short by the Welsh Government, because EDF  needed to know what the final decision would be quickly as there were time pressures in completing the dredge and to dump the material this summer.”

“The Assembly Petitions Committee  was forced to cut short its deliberations and encouraged to produce a report without sufficient time to deliberate on the evidence and generate substantive  conclusions and recommendations on the way forward.”

“Thus, when the issue was debated in the Senedd no conclusions or recommendations were put forward to be voted on by AMs. The whole exercise was also nullified by the decision to abruptly call an end to Senedd Petition Committee deliberations.”

The nuclear mud dumping site – marked in red – Is just a mile off the Penarth shore.

Tim Deere-Jones says “No action to commence the dredging had been announced until last week, approximately 3 months after the Senedd debate and around 4 months after the order to terminate the Petition Committee proceedings had been given.”

“The latest decision to postpone the dredge and dump until sometime in September further confirms that the termination of the Petition Committee proceedings was not necessary.”

The Welsh Assembly’s Petitions Committee: Tim Deere-Jones says consideration of the nuclear mud dumping scheme here was deliberately “cut short” by the Welsh Labour Government.

Deere-Jones says the original decision to terminate the Petition Committee proceedings in the Welsh Assembly was “founded on a desire to bring a swift end to the debate about the re-licencing of EDF’s dump and to ensure that the Petitions Committee had no opportunity to draw up substantive conclusions or recommendations that could be voted on by AMs.”

Meanwhile the 40 Nuclear Free Local Authorities are calling again  on the Welsh Labour Government and Natural Resources Wales to “reconsider the approvals previously given and fully take on board the high level of public unease there is in dumping such large amounts of sediment off the Welsh coast.” .

They say that ” A greater level of scientific testing of the material that is planned for dumping should be thoroughly made to consider its radioactive and other material content to ensure that it can be demonstrated to be fully ‘safe’ and not a long-term marine environmental hazard.

The Welsh Assembly and the Welsh Government is supposed to be democratic and transparent. In fact it’s anything but that – says Deere-Jones .

Tim Deere-Jones says of the Welsh Labour Government This is a government which has extolled the virtues of open government and transparency and yet, on the issue of radioactive mud dumping, it seems to me that it has behaved in the opposite manner. The dumping of such material off the coast of Wales needs to primarily consider public safety and cleanliness of the marine and land environment, rather than to the direct benefit of the nuclear industry.”

Tim Deere-Jones is to address a Welsh Forum seminar taking place at Cardiff County Hall on the September 28th 2018.

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  1. Penarth Pedaller says:

    “Nuclear expert”, “marine radioactivity consultant” and “Marine pollution consultant”. All very impressive titles, no doubt about that. What are his academic and/or professional qualifications?

    • Pip says:

      PFFF. Scientists with academic qualifications can be bought to put their name to anything. Crikey you’re naive. Do you not remember how we were all told that thalidomide was safe to take?!?!

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Dump it on the front doorsteps of the cranky nimby’s of the Anti Wind Power Lobby
      “The Welsh Government wants 70% of electricity to come from renewables by 2030, up from its current rate of 32%.”
      Lesley Griffiths AM on BBC Wales 29 Sept 17

      What use is that if this Nuclear excrement is dumped off Penarth Pier

  2. snoggerdog says:

    forget the nuclear bit for a minute,penarth has a lot of mud reaching all the way down to swanbridge & beyond. so the question would you like tons & tons of sand should be considered (i personally like a stony beach ) next question would you like tons & tons of stones ?no thanks we have enough,ok would you like tons & tons of mud,no thanks we have so much already we have employ a dutch? mudsucker to clear our harbours. so which part yes please we’ll have even more dont i understand ?

  3. George Smith says:

    Looking at the map I see no logic in this approach. Its English mud they can keep it.

  4. Cogan nomen says:

    I have just noticed 23
    Comments on Pooch pee .
    Ergo – does anyone give a damn
    About the mud ?
    Atomic power is eco friendly !
    Ask most academics .

  5. Richard Metcalf says:

    The Cardiff dumping grounds have been used for dumping the dredgings from Cardiff and Penarth Docks access channels for decades, probably as long as the channels have been dredged. As a boy in the 1950’s /60’s I can recall the steam dredger and its attendant hopper boats working in the Drain and Wrach channels. A large area of Bridgewater Bay are mudbanks, so why bring all the Hinkley Point dredgings to the Welsh side of the Bristol Channel / Severn Estuary – why not dump it in Bridgewater Bay ? Oh, perhaps the North Somerset seaside resorts would not like it ! Why not dump the Cardiff docks dredgings off Minehead or Watchet – no need to guess what their reactions would be !!

  6. Max Wallis says:

    Cardiff Grounds is the only dump site big enough to take the huge 300 000 cu metres. It’s long taken “dredgings” that disperse and rejoin the sediment system.. Not intended or approved to take the Hinkley material that includes decades-old compacted sediments and base clay. The license say these are to be “deposited”, minimising dispersion. They can’t comply by dropping it from barges.. Most won’t deposit in the channel of the Cardiff Grounds, but there’s no assessment of where it will deposit. Penarth beach is an obvious target.
    Our petition to the Welsh Government to halt the dumping is attracting thousands of signatures – support it!

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