Farmer served notice after 30 years to make way for new Cumbria nuclear plant

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Elizabeth Fearon
Elizabeth Fearon

A farmer has been left "devastated" after being ordered to close her business to make way for a new nuclear power station.

Elizabeth Fearon, whose family has farmed at Greenmoorside, in the hamlet of Sellafield, for 30 years, has been given a year by nuclear chiefs to wrap-up her business so the three-reactor Moorside plant can be built on the land.

Leaseholder Mrs Fearon was given the "bombshell" news by landowners NuGen, the firm behind the Moorside plans. The 250 cows she keeps on the holding - 150 milk cows and 100 young stock - must now be sold.

Mrs Fearon, who lives at Gosforth, said: "It is absolutely devastating.

"Farming isn't just a job; it's my whole life. My entire business will be lost."

NuGen, who acquired the land from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said it understand the potential stress and worry this could cause.

A spokesman said: "NuGen has met with tenants occupying land or property which will become part of the Moorside Site, giving each tenant 12 months’ notice - after which their tenancy will end.

"This is to allow NuGen to continue with its site characterisation, site preparations and environmental mitigation work that is essential to the continued development of the Moorside Project.

"NuGen understands the potential for this activity to cause worry and stress for those affected. We will work with compassion and sympathy and, where we can, be flexible to help meet the needs and desired outcomes of the affected tenants."

Mrs Fearon said she has been in discussions with NuGen over the land for the past five years.

She said NuGen's representatives had previously offered to help her relocate her business, and was "shocked to be served with the bombshell notice to quit, out of the blue".

Mrs Fearon now has a month to respond to the notice and is seeking legal advice. She is also receiving support from the Tenant Farmers Association and the National Farmers Union.

"I'll be using every means I can to stop this happening. It's not just me this closure will affect; I have an employee and two casual workers whose jobs will be lost.

"There's also my local suppliers and vets who are supported by the farm. I know I'm a little part of this huge scheme but NuGen are wrong in what they are trying to do here and I want people to know that."

NuGen has previously stated it plans to lodge a planning application this year ahead of construction starting in 2020 and all three reactors on stream by 2026.

However, recent speculation over Toshiba's involvement in the consortium has raised some doubts about the project's financing.

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Oliver   Tickell , Oxford Tuesday, 07 March, 2017 at 6:26PM
Tragic, but the truth is she and her cows are better off out of there. The whole place is littered with plutonium / americium dust and any single particle lodged in the lung is a potential cancer site. Choose life!
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M   M , Mars Tuesday, 07 March, 2017 at 5:12PM
This lady has known about this for a long time. Let's remember she is tenant on land that has always been at risk of being engulfed by nuclear development. Sellafield is across the road for godsake and the land was previously owned up until recently by the Nuclear Decomissioning Authority.
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Edith   Ward , Bingara Tuesday, 07 March, 2017 at 1:03AM
Living on leasehold property one must expect something like this could happen at any time. No doubt there will be a considerable compensation payout.
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Steve   Perry , Keswick Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 7:58PM
It really is a joke that they can do that good luck to the woman sticking to her guns she has All the right to fight a new plant they need to deal with the old one first. As always the tax payer Will foot the bill.
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Suzanna   Byrne , Huntington Beach, California, USA Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 5:55PM
I am appalled by the decision of a massive organization against a small farmer who clearly has contributed not only food for the community but is a part of the intricate network that makes up the economy of any community. I watch from afar as my home country and its people, are bullied by corporate power and I wonder, where is the people's government in all of this? Does Teresa May care about what is happening in Cumbria? It breaks my heart to know that English people are being enslaved by big, powerful, organizations. Is this what Brexit is going to look like in the future>?
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Maria   Kinszki , Coventry Wednesday, 08 March, 2017 at 4:08PM
It is indeed appalling. Moreover as the certainty of involvement from Toshiba and Engie are in question. Why put people's livelihoods in jeopardy just for the sake of it.
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Steve   Hurst , Carlisle Tuesday, 07 March, 2017 at 12:14PM
What has this got to do with Brexit? This would have happened even if the remain voters won.
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kelvin   sausage , Carlisle Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 1:25PM
Hardly a surprise though!
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orange   Peel , flimby Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 1:17PM
doesn't this new power station depend upon a new partner to take over Toshiba's share of the scheme? We know for certain that the UK have not got any company to step in and even less chance of the Tories stepping in. then there is Corbyn who campaigned AGAINST nuclear power.
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