Tempers flare at Sizewell meeting as locals stopped from discussing Japan's Fukushima Power Plant
PUBLISHED: 10:15 06 June 2011
TEMPERS flared after a nuclear group stopped members of the public from raising concerns about the situation in disaster struck Japan.
Sizewell A and B Stakeholder Group’s (SSG) AGM had to be suspended twice in a bid to restore order.
Enraged campaigners disrupted proceedings by storming to the front of the meeting and waving placards – claiming some members were acting unconstitutionally.
SSG chairman Richard Smith previously sent out a letter asking those who attended the AGM to avoid discussing the stricken Fukushima Power Plant, which has been leaking radiation since an earthquake and tsunami struck in March.
He said instead there would be a dedicated meeting following the publication of a Government report into the disaster, due out in September.
He said he believed this would allow members to have the full facts at their disposal, while also keeping the AGM within a manageable time frame.
But the move was criticised by some and feelings came to the fore at a heated meeting at Saxmundham’s Market Hall on Thursday night.
Mr Smith asked the SSG to vote on its preferred choice of action and – despite protests from some members – it was agreed that discussions on Fukushima should be delayed until a dedicated meeting in the first week of July.
In a separate vote it was also agreed that members of the public would not be able to bring up the issue of Japan in the public forum.
Instead, it was felt that they would have an opportunity to have their say and voice their opinions at the meeting in July, which could then be submitted to the Government.
But Pete Wilkinson, a member of the SSG, said he felt Fukushima should be discussed.
“We should be talking about it now,” he said.
“We have got to take every opportunity to discuss the issue of what the implications might be for us and the spectre of Sizewell C.”
His feelings were echoed by other members, including Bill Howard and Joan Girling, while Marianne Fellowes also felt it was important people’s concerns were addressed.
Charles Barnett, chairman of Shut Down Sizewell, said: “You should be talking about it – not worrying if the meeting goes on a bit later than you would like it to.”
He claimed the SSG was acting against its constitution – which states it is a conduit for two way information and a “clearing house” for community concerns.
Member of the public Mike Taylor was also stopped from talking about Fukushima in the public forum.
Mr Smith told the meeting: “In no way was I trying to censor discussion – my aim was the opposite of that. It is undoubtedly the most serious incident since Chernobyl. We will hold a meeting in the first week of July, I’m happy to do that. I’m guided by the members.”