Wednesday, 02 December 2015

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Allerdale set to back Government proposal to sideline county council in nuclear store search

Allerdale councillors are due to back a Government proposal to sideline the county council in any search for a new nuclear dump site.

Stewart Young photo
Stewart Young

Allerdale’s executive committee is to meet next week to finalise the council’s response to the Department for Energy & Climate Change consultation over the revised search process announced in the summer.

And in its draft response, which the executive is being recommended to lodge, it states that the authority agrees with an approach to “revise roles” in the siting process. It also says that some members believe there should be greater involvement of the parish and town councils.

Just last week Cumbria County Council tabled its views, saying that the Government would be wrong to sideline the authority in any new search for a Geological Disposal Facility in Cumbria.

An attempt to look for potential sites was stopped earlier this year when the council’s cabinet decided it did not want that process to happen – despite Allerdale and Copeland councils saying it should. Under the new proposals – currently under consultion – the county’s right to veto a hunt for possible locations would be lost.

The proposed procedure would mean a search could go ahead with district-only approval, effectively taking the county and parish councils out of the process.

At last week’s cabinet, council leader Stewart Young described the search process as “flawed.”

He told cabinet colleagues: “Not only have the goalposts been removed but one of the teams has been sent off and someone is digging a big hole in the middle of the pitch.”

The anticipated response from Allerdale also states that it would back a referendum to test public support before the representative authority loses its right to withdraw from the process. “We suggest that this should be just before the beginning of the construction of the facility,” it states.

The DECC consultation ends next month and the national site selection process would be re-launched in 2014.

Have your say

I am glad that Allerdale are listening to peoles concerns and asking for a national geographic survey, a referendum of the people of Cumbria and the right of withdrawal at any point of the process.

Posted by Trust the experts on 17 December 2013 at 23:00

Dagsannr - I completely agree and the comment by ray on 16 December 2013 at 14:36 is a prime example.

"The people of the county just don't want it"

Incorrect - the decision was made by county councillors who in my opinion, listened to the people who shouted the loudest (the opponents) and neglected to listen to the majority of people who sat there quietly mulling over the subject in a calm and collected manner.

This is what this comes down to from the majority (NOT all) of "against" camp. It's NIMBY-ism. You could prove that the repository is 100% safe and most people would still object based on the fact it has the word "nuclear" or "radioactive" associated with it. The cotton wool goes in the ears and the blinkers go on. People are concerned about their house prices as opposed to identifying a viable solution for the long term management of legacy nuclear waste already stored in the county.

I noticed on these discussions that if you don't completely disagree with the proposal you are labelled a "pro" repository supporter, when actually there are many people out there like myself who are interested in bottoming out the issue altogether with respect to assessing whether the geology is suitable.

Before making a decision we should look at the scientific facts, weigh up the pros and cons then make an informative decision based on real evidence. Saying "no" at this stage based on a limited amount of information without further investigation is pointless.

And before people pipe up...a couple of footnotes.

1.) The NIREX investigation focussed on a tiny area of the geology adjacent to the Sellafield site, so isn't really representative of the entire county.

2.) We only understand a limited amount about the geology from historic mining activities.

3.) The Haszeldine and Smythe reports do contain some valid points, however again these aren't specific to the entire county and are based on the limited information that we have so far with respect to the county's underlying geology.

Posted by Cocker Lad on 17 December 2013 at 22:57

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