Green party

Government told to come clean on secret nuclear facility

21 March 2003

Britain's Green Party has demanded that the Government admit to the existence of a secret nuclear facility on the outskirts of Reading, Berkshire.

At its twice-yearly conference, held in Llandrindod Wells from 13 - 16 March, the party unanimously passed a resolution insisting on a complete clean up of the nuclear facility at the former Shell site in Earley, south east of Reading, and immediate action to ensure that victims receive medical attention.

Reading Green Party member Jacob Sanders, who proposed the resolution, said that no decontamination of the nuclear site had taken place and its existence had been kept a secret from local residents who were most at risk: "The Government must now clean up the site and seek to trace those who have become ill or died as a result of its existence. Many people who have become ill or lost relatives are unaware that the site was responsible."

Nuclear scientist Dr Chris Busby confirmed that tests on a home and garden adjacent to the site showed they were contaminated by plutonium and depleted uranium which could not occur naturally. He supported the call for the site to be decontaminated.

Ray Fox, former resident of a home adjacent to the site, said that he was pleased to have the Green Party's support. "No other party has yet admitted what happened," he said. "The Green Party's support will strengthen ourm campaign for justice."

Mr Fox's home has been empty since he left the property after becoming ill. After medical tests showed that he had been contaminated by nuclear materials, Mr Fox arranged tests on his home and garden, and these confirmed nuclear contamination.

Notes:

1) Ray Fox, former resident of a home adjacent to the site, became seriously ill after being contaminated by nuclear materials from the site. Testing shows that his home and garden are contaminated by plutonium and depleted uranium.

2) The Government claims that the contamination is caused by nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s. This does not explain why the levels of plutonium found in Mr Fox's garden were many times higher than those found elsewhere in the country.

3) An investigation by the Nuclear Division of the Environmental Directorate of the European Commission is now underway, following a complaint by Mr Fox.

4) Mr Fox approached the Green Party and asked for its support at a fringe meeting of the Autumn 2002 conference. As a result, the issue came as formal business to the next party conference.

The text of the resolution passed by Green Party conference on 16 March 2003 is as follows:

Conference notes the disturbing evidence of radioactive and chemical contamination in the vicinity of the former Shell site at Earley, Reading, which was brought to the Green Party's attention at the Autumn 2002 conference.

Conference instructs Green Party Executive to appoint one of its members to write to the UK Government requesting urgent attention to the matter. This to include:

- Full co-operation with the investigations by the Chemical and Nuclear Divisions of the Environmental Directorate of the European Commission.

- Investigation of the contamination of the site and full disclosure of the findings, accompanied by an open assessment of the scale and consequences of the contamination.

- De-contamination of the site.

- A programme to address the public health impact of the site on local residents, provision of appropriate medical care and compensation to victims.

- Investigation into the role of Government agencies and departments at national and local level in this matter.