Vaughan Gething, Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth, has now publicly admitted for the first time that there are what he calls “concerns” over the dumping of Hinkley Point ‘nuclear mud’ off Penarth – and about the way in which testing on the mud has been carried out.
Gething, however, sticks rigidly to Labour Party/Welsh Labour Government line and claims that the evidence and testing shows the mud (or what he calls “the sediment”) “poses no radiological risk to people or the marine environment.”
It’s the first time that Gething – who has been nicknamed “Geiger Gething” and “Toxic Gething“ by the anti-mud-dumping campaign – has commented publicly on the controversial issue .
However Gething now appears to want to divert blame from the Welsh Labour Government and directs it instead to the Labour Government’s own”regulator” – Natural Resources Wales (NRW) which he says is the “licensing authority” .
Anti-mud campaigners claim it was in fact Welsh Labour Government Minister Alun Davies who told the NRW that it would not be necessary to have an Environmental Impact Assessment carried out . An Environmental Impact Assessment is a legal requirement for dumping material at sea .It was Welsh Labour Government “environment minister” Lesley Griffiths who approved the issue of a dumping licence to EDF].
Gething, who faces a Welsh Labour leadership election next month, can’t afford to tread on any Labour Party toes or say anything which is going to further implicate the Welsh Labour Government in the scandal . Sources in Cardiff Bay say it’s Natural Resources Wales which is being set up as the whipping boy.
Gething claims to have “written a number of times” to Natural Resources Wales on this issue – but exactly HOW MANY times he has written, he does not say. Only ONE of his letters has been placed in the public domain – and it was only written yesterday -Tuesday October 9th . (see below).
In diverting blame from the Welsh Labour Government he castigates Natural Resources Wales and criticises that organisation for what he calls “the lack of public commentary” . [ Natural Resources Wales on the other hand were referring all enquiries on the mud dumping issue to the Welsh Labour Government]
Gething says he has asked Natural Resources Wales to “provide a response” before tonight’s debate in the Welsh Assembly.
Gething’s statement raises a number of points:-
- As the AM for Cardiff South and Penarth – the constituency directly affected by the mud dumping – just what took him so long to act on public concerns?.
- Constituents will also want to know why Gething has avoided looking into the adequacy or otherwise of radioactive testing of the Hinkley Point mud.
- Gething fails to explain why the Welsh Labour Government – of which he is a member and putative First Minister – broke the law and allowed the mud dumping to go ahead without an Environmental Impact Assessment being carried out beforehand.
- Gething also does not say why it’s a good idea to dump 320,000 tons of somebody else’s mud – whether radioactive or not – just over a mile off shore from his own constituency – Cardiff South and Penarth.
A demonstration is due to take place outside the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay at 16:30 today to coincide with the debate which will be going on inside the Assembly at the same time.