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We place great importance on our links with the communities on our doorstep. AWE’s Local Liaison Committee is a vital communications forum as well as a focus for holding us to account for operating safely, securely and with due care for the environment.
The Local Liaison Committee (LLC), which has its own terms of reference, brings together 31 representatives from local authorities in Berkshire and Hampshire. Together, they represent around half a million neighbouring residents. It’s an ideal platform for local people to gain a better understanding of AWE’s activities and to raise questions through their elected representative on the Committee. It’s also a great way for us to stay in touch with local opinions on topics of mutual interest.
Committee meetings, held quarterly, provide the opportunity to discuss matters of particular interest to local people and routinely cover:
LLC members are encouraged to submit agenda items of interest to their local communities. Questions from residents are also welcomed. After each meeting, detailed minutes are produced and published as a formal record of the topics discussed.
Representatives of AWE's independent regulators – the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency – also attend the meetings. They give independent updates on company performance and progress. They also produce a quarterly performance report, which is shared with members at the meetings and published on their websites.
Government nuclear deterrent policy and associated scientific/technical operational matters fall outside of the scope of the LLC agenda. As a Government-Owned-Contractor-Operated (GOCO) organisation, AWE's role is to carry out government policy effectively, efficiently, safely and securely. Nuclear defence policy issues are a matter for the Ministry of Defence.
Where feasible and relevant, we host site visits and demonstrations to give Committee members a deeper insight into our work. They are a great source of additional information for members to share with people in the local community.
The dialogue with the neighbouring communities goes beyond these quarterly meetings. Press releases are sent to all members and we send regular email updates on operational issues between meetings. It’s our way of ensuring they are well informed about any activity that may impact or be of interest to the communities they represent.
Over the last two years AWE and the current members of the LLC have worked closely together to look at what improvements AWE and the LLC members can make to the effectiveness of the committee. A Joint Steering Group (JSG) , comprising LLC members and AWE staff, and chaired by the LLC Members’ Liaison Officer, was set up to oversee the review activity and determine recommendations to put forward to the full committee. This report summarises the work carried out and outlines the improvement activities which have been implemented as a result of the JSG’s recommendations.