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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Task force call to bring more jobs into west Cumbria

A call has been made for a task force to look at bringing more jobs to west Cumbria on the back of nuclelar and decommissioning developments.

Elaine Woodburn photo
Elaine Woodburn

Leaders of both Allerdale and Copeland councils told the independent West Cumbria Stakeholders (nuclear sites) watchdog that not enough benefit was being gained for the areas.

Copeland council leader Elaine Woodburn, supported by her Allerdale counterpart Alan Smith, called for a special task force.

The group would involve local authorities, the nuclear industry, and unions.

Stakeholders felt that more could be gained from decommissioning. There were also concerns over the amount of contaminated metal going overseas for treatment before being sent back for treatment.

Recent movement of massive steel boilers from the decommissioned Berkeley power station in Gloucestershire was highlighted.

Ms Woodburn said: “These Berkeley boilers are going to Sweden, and we get the waste when it comes back. If the problem is government then it’s up to us collectively to change that. We need a driver – and that can be a task group.”

Gary McKeating, Nuclear Management Partners’ head of socio-economics, said: “There is a 3,000 jobs target over the next 15 years in the West Cumbria Economic Blueprint – this is something we need to have in our minds at all times.”

But Allerdale leader Alan Smith said: “Socio-economics is also about poverty – jobs alleviate poverty. We do need a task group. The stronger we are, the better it will be. Jobs are needed, nuclear or not.”

After the meeting, Ms Woodburn said:“There is a lot of potential, new innovation, new skills learned at Sellafield through the decommissioning.

“We need to look at what other markets are out there to use those skills and bring new industries and businesses here to the local area, things like decommissioning oil rigs.”

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