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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Cumbrian MP fighting for law change after nuclear store decision

An MP has vowed to fight for a change in the law to bring the debate over whether Cumbria should be home to a nuclear waste store back to the table.

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‘Fork in road’: Copeland MP, Jamie Reed

The move comes after the original consultation was left dead in the water when Cumbria County Council voted not to go to the next stage.

Allerdale and Copeland councils, however, wanted to find out whether the area might be suitable for a nuclear waste repository.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said: “I’m considering producing a Private Members’ Bill. Next week I will be able to announce the creation of an all-party parliamentary group on radioactive waste to monitor this policy area.

“The next step for Government will be to consult on a new process and I think all this could be done fairly quickly.”

Mr Reed estimated that a new consultation would take three months to complete and said he hoped that a resolution on the way forward could be reached “this year”.

Calling for a “scientifically-led debate” on disposal, he said: “The decision from the county council clearly does not reflect the wishes of the people of west Cumbria.

“The people and the businesses of west Cumbria have the right to determine their own future. We live with these materials and we understand the risks posed by it. We more than any one else want to solve the problem of nuclear waste disposal.

“This is an urgent national problem.

“This is not in any way a desire to establish a repository at any cost but the reality is if we don’t know whether the geology is suitable the Government will keep coming back.”

But Bill Jefferson, an Independent councillor for Silloth who is also chairman of the Solway AONB and of the Lake District National Park Authority, welcomed the county council’s the decision.

“I welcome the protection it gives to the landscape,” he added. “The process is formally over.

“What happens next is difficult to say and the three councils have yet to establish a way forward in dealing with the ramifications of this decision.”

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