Neil McEvoy, Independent Assembly Member for South Wales Central
For the past 12 months, a dedicated, eclectic mix of campaigners, made up of environmentalists, concerned members of the public, a respected Welsh musician from a well-known rock band and a bunch of people involved in politics have fought hard to draw people’s attention to the most shocking thing that has ever crossed my desk in politics.
If you asked me to write a fictional story, I don’t think I could weave something together which would be so unbelievable.
Who on earth would think that a Welsh Government of any colour would allow mud from a nuclear power station in Somerset to be dumped a little over a mile off the Welsh coast, without it being properly tested for hot particles of plutonium?
Who would believe that an eminent, respected nuclear physicist from Imperial College London would warn the Welsh Government of the dangers only to be ignored?
Who would believe that a last-minute legal case mounted on a shoestring through a crowd funder would stand up to the might of a company with a turnover of billions, matching their legal team in court and becoming worldwide news?
This, ladies and gentleman, has all happened, but the story isn’t yet over, because we have a vote to win and a country to protect.
We all owe a great deal of thanks to Cian Ciarán from the Super Furry Animals, who put his name forward for the legal challenge. He left himself to be possibly exposed to enormous court costs if we had lost the case.
He went to court knowing this, but he is so dedicated to ending the filthy nuclear industry that he took the risk. Ultimately, he couldn’t underwrite an injunction, where he would have been liable for costs of £118,000 a day if we’d have lost the case.
But by going to court we achieved three key things:
1.) It was proven that there was no specific Environmental Impact Assessment to dump mud in the Cardiff Grounds. That’s why I have now written to the Counsel General to make him aware that the Welsh government is acting unlawfully by allowing this mud to be dumped here.
2.) It was established that the Welsh Cabinet Secretary is ultimately responsible for the licence to allow the mud to be dumped.
The Labour Welsh Government has consistently claimed that Natural Resources Wales were responsible for the licence. But they are an agency of the Welsh Government.
Ultimately, it is the Welsh Government that is responsible and so it is up to Labour to cancel the dumping licence.
3.) The court case has brought significant public exposure to the dumping. We’ve been broadcast around the world on Al Jazeera, on Russia Today, published in the Guardian, the Daily Mail, in newspapers throughout England and Scotland and as far afield as Pakistan & Germany.
Of course, we’ve had coverage in the Welsh media too. That exposure has created a new political opportunity and led to consensus from all the opposition groups in the Assembly that the nuclear mud dumping must be stopped.
As a result, Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives jointly submitted a motion to suspend the licence. The vote will take place on Wednesday, 10th of October. With the international interest in the mud-dumping, all eyes are now on Labour to see how they will vote.
If they vote to let the nuclear mud dumping continue then they will be internationally exposed not as a party for the many, but a party for the few people who benefit from the toxic nuclear industry.
There are now three things that you can do to help ahead of the vote on Wednesday:
- Write to your Assembly Members
Every Assembly Member needs to know how much opposition there is to this nuclear mud dump. Please write to your AMs by clicking here.
You just need to enter your postcode, click ‘write to all your AMs’ and then draft a letter to send them. Let them know that you want them to vote to suspend the licence that is allowing nuclear mud to be dumped and that you’ll be watching closely to see which way they vote.
- Join the protest on 10th of October
The vote on the mud motion is expected to take place at 5:30pm on Wednesday, the 10th of October. Protesters will be gathering outside the National Assembly in Cardiff, from 4:30pm.
Bring your banners, your flags and every person who you think may be interested.
We need the AMs to be clear about how much opposition there is. We’ll be there until 6:30pm so if you can make it at any time before then, please come along. The protest event page is here.
- Join the People’s Flotilla
If you have a boat and fancy doing a bit of “fishing” then we’ll be leaving from Cardiff Marina at 4am on Monday the 8th to head to the Cardiff Grounds.
The international media will be on board to see how our “fishing” goes so the more boats we have, the better. If you’re interested in joining us please email email@example.com.
This really is a key vote for our Assembly that we have to win.
We can’t continue to let our country be dumped on. Whatever happens, it is clear now that anyone thinking of treating our country like a dump site in future knows there will be fierce resistance from the Welsh.
We’re a strong nation that stands up for ourselves so let’s have one more big push to show the world what we’re really made of.
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