What we do
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At AWE, we are committed to running an effective and efficient business safely and securely. This means treating our employees fairly and respecting the communities in which we operate. Particular emphasis is placed on the care and protection of the environment.
We aim to conduct our business in an environmentally responsible manner by complying fully with legal and regulatory requirements and by meeting the expectations of the MOD and other stakeholders. We strive to enhance our performance and efficiency continuously by working in partnership with our suppliers and everybody with whom we interact.
Environmental monitoring helps us to verify the impact of our activities. It enables us to manage operations effectively and with minimal negative impact. Our Environmental Management System is certified to the internationally recognised ISO 14001 standard and supports continuous improvement in our environmental performance.
We are committed to reducing our emissions to the environment where possible and we work hard to minimise the risks of water pollution, flooding and the impact on land quality to an acceptable level. Likewise, minimising the emission of gases and particulates is a key focus of our environmental strategy.
Another key objective is to reduce the impact of commuting – and particularly from business travel and the use of private cars.
Our employee travel and transport plan came into effect in 2001 and has been commended as 'best practice' by West Berkshire Council. Since then, the introduction of staff travel surveys has also helped us to understand commuting habits and trends more clearly.
An inter-site bus service between Aldermaston and Burghfield also reduces local traffic movements and allows for easy movement round the sites.
One of our overriding objectives is to reduce waste production and to promote, reuse, recycling and energy recovery.
In fact, in line with the government’s plan for a ‘zero waste economy’, becoming a ‘zero controlled waste to landfill’ organisation is part of our long-term vision. This means where possible we reduce, reuse or recycle all we can and only dispose of waste as a last resort.
Like the rest of the nuclear industry and certain hospitals, we produce some radioactive waste from our operations. In recent years, we have been successful in reducing the amount of this waste – ensuring what we do produce is disposed of safely and within legal authorisations set by our regulators. We are permitted to discharge very low levels of treated radioactive waste, in liquid or gaseous form, under strict discharge authorisations regulated by the Environment Agency. We have successfully kept discharges to a fraction of permitted limits and have continued to reduce them to the point where they are now barely detectable.
We recognise the importance of protecting our environment for generations to come. A key aim is to therefore manage, conserve and enhance our ecological and historic environments.
We are fully committed to preserving biodiversity on our sites, complying with all statutory requirements and applying best practice where we can. Appropriately qualified and experienced employees, some of whom hold protected species licences, are integral to the work we do around biodiversity.
Our sites are home to a number of nationally and internationally scarce species – most notably a population of great crested newts, several species of bat and over 25 bird species of conservation concern. We also manage important heritage assets including Grim's Bank (a Scheduled Monument) and a range of World War II and Cold War structures.