David Levy – Who are the true radicals when it comes to pollution control? – Nov 15

Manning the barricades makes one think of extremism, yet repeatedly one can see examples where the long-term strategy of private companies is to patiently wait for activism to go away before reintroducing controversial subjects.

Look at nuclear, and how the major NGOs were totally against this industry based mainly on the storage of long-living radioactive waste and the impact this technology has on our environment.

Activists spent decades on their opposition to this industry, yet today leading ex-leaders of the NGOs are rethinking and rebranding our need for nuclear.

The arguments have not changed about why this industry is expensive to commission, to decommission and to live with – whilst delivering around 20-25% of our electricity.

The truth is, it keeps the energy sector in the hands of government and foreign companies. Whereas the alternative of renewables sees communities and individuals owning the energy production, prescribing their own energy bills, and feeding into the National Grid outside of the control of the state.

The discharge of wastes from nuclear plants into tidal estuaries is against the policy of OSPAR to which the UK Government is a signatory. Pollution from these plants has led to a high radioactive contamination of the silts in the estuaries which impacts on invertebrate and bird life. Yet, this very day, the Environment Agency has given permission, without a proper environmental evaluation, to the Bradwell Nuclear Plant in Essex to continue whilst it is decommissioned with a waste discharge policy into the Blackwater Estuary.

That this area is known for its native oysters and is a Marine Conservation Zone means that they are “conserving” the levels of pollution to the high levels that already exist, as verified by recent monitoring. It defies belief, but it is a fact.

Look at the Wiltshire County Council — a typical back room decision has just passed the county planning committee to authorise a pyrolysis plant without any reference to the emissions that will come from its 60m chimney.

These councillors are well aware of the type of gases, heavy metals and poisons that come out of chimneys, yet they just had to be radical. Let’s poison those children downwind from the chimney playing at school whilst safe in the nation’s care. In fact, we can do that for 3 schools within a 1mile radius of where the plume will ground.

This is the attitude of the county’s portfolio holder.

It reflects a situation where Westbury has a history with its cement plant chimney, so let’s give them more pollution, so long as it’s not in my backyard.

The county policy is build the pyrolysis plant and pressure the Environment Agency to authorise it later and, as we’ve seen above, if nobody is watching the practice then the Agency caves in to commercialism.

That is why you have to constantly be aware and vigilant.

David Levy November Blog 2015

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