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AWE: Sneaky Planning Plot

AWE Aldermaston are investigating ways of avoiding public consultation on planning applications.

Research by the Nuclear Information Service (NIS) has discovered that West Berkshire Council, AWE and the Ministry of Defence have been discussing the possibility of introducing a pilot Local Development Order for AWE sites, which would allow smaller scale developments to be fast-tracked through the planning system.

A Local Development Order is an order laid down by a local planning authority which allows certain types of development to take place within a certain area. This allows development to take place without going through the formal planning process, and therefore without public consultation.

We don't know any further details at the moment, but AWPC is concerned if a Local Development Order were to be applied at AWE, with respect to the remaining proposed new developments at Aldermaston, it would appear to shut down the already very limited possibilities we have had for opposing the new developments through the planning process.

In their July update, NIS report that West Berkshire Council has applied for funding from the government's Planning Advisory Service to prepare a Local Development Order for AWE sites. At the moment the project is at an early stage, and before implementing any Development Order the Council would have to undertake a publicity and consultation process similar to that for other development planning documents.

A recent report prepared for the Planning Advisory Service noted that the general public, and especially those who consider themselves affected by any new developments under a Local Development Order, might perceive that Local Development Orders are short-cutting the planning system and reducing their rights to submit views on applications. The Health and Safety Executive has also raised concerns about a public safety if the Order relates to an area where there is a major hazard installation.
For more NIS Updates see: http://www.nuclearinfo.org/home