AWE Burghfield update by Roving Reporter
AWE Burghfield - update
Heavens, it's years since I wrote a report! However, funny things have been going on at AWE Burghfield.
Firstly it's a huge building site with new buildings going up everywhere. A couple of years ago and it was as tatty as AWE Aldermaston was in 2000. Then there was the flood in 2007, and now there are new buildings going up everywhere, including replacements for the Gravel Gerties where the warheads are finally completed (likewise flooded in 2007).
Back gate - The back gate area has been transformed. It is now a swanky new car park with an electronic welcome sign saying "Welcome to AWE B" inside a massive sliding gate. You can imagine my grin as I read it on walking in on the Saturday of the September camp. I turned to the swivel camera and mouthed "what the hell is going on?" Here I was, inside a byelaw and SOCPA area, and there wasn't an official in sight (not even those nice Mitie Security men who open gates for cars without checking the occupants) and the gates were wide open. There are five people being prosecuted under SOCRAP for being in the similar area at Boiler House gate at AWE Aldermaston on February 15th - but here I was trotting around....
Charlotte and I returned on the Sunday, and we had an MDP escorted tour of the very large car park area. I was told that the car park was surrounded by the super electrified weld mesh fence and so was perfectly secure. We did a careful inspection. As far as I can see either the electric wires on the inside of the outside car-park fence are turned off, or they are a health & safety risk to anyone in the car park. As for SOCPA?? Well, not a word was mentioned about s.128 or the byelaws either, just polite requests to walk out. So we did.
Spoil heaps - On the October camp I reported a spoil heap with two signs saying "hazardous waste" to the Environment Agency for incomplete covering. But it's all OK since "The spoil tips on site are not contaminated with radioactive waste and are not subject to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010" (although I'm also told that they are subject to the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations...) Amazingly, though, the answer came back from the EA within 8 hours and a thank you for drawing their attention to the spoil heap....
Oh yes, and the road on which the Back Gate is situated was closed... and so was the gate.
House demolition - the row of houses from the Main Gate down to the playing fields may at last be nearing their end. The house nearest the playing fields has already been demolished, and there is a strip of grass between the houses and the fence which has been marked off and killed off - who knows what for? (see pic). Anyone wishing to squat one of those empty houses had better get a move on!