July 25, 2008

Environmental Watchdog Backs Plan for New Waste Store Near Dounreay


SCOTLAND'S environment watchdog has supported plans for a new low- level waste store to be built near the Dounreay nuclear site.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency accepted the proposal with conditions on how it is built and future monitoring of its use.

Highland Council is still considering an application lodged by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), but the support from Sepa represents a significant development.

Friends of the Earth Scotland has supported concerns residents at nearby Buldoo have voiced about placing the store on a new site close to one which is already licensed and they feel is more suitable. Residents are campaigning against the GBP110m complex being built on grazing land overlooking the settlement.

It is claimed, however, the previously licensed site further from the village is now unsuitable because of fresh concerns over coastal erosion and volume capabilities.

The controversial proposals could end in a planning inquiry. Sepa said it has advised the council that it supports the application, provided a number of conditions are imposed to protect people and the environment.

These conditions, coupled with regulatory requirements imposed by Sepa and others, will ensure this important facility can be developed safely, the watchdog insisted.

Colin Bayes, Sepa's head of environmental protection and improvement, said: "A large amount of the work already carried out for Sepa's planning response will be used to inform future regulation of the construction and operation of the proposed facilities."

Sepa has already received an application from DSRL under the Radioactive Substances Act (RSA 93) to dispose of radioactive waste in the facilities.

The watchdog said it would consult the public at appropriate points during its consideration of the various permits and autho risations required.

Residents at Buldoo said they oppose the new site "100per cent".

A spokesman for the Buldoo Residents Association said DSRL is "taking away our environment while at the same time claiming to be restoring the environment".

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

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