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Thursday, 20 November 2014

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Hundreds take part in underground nuclear waste store protest

Hundreds of people marched in protest at Ennerdale over a proposed underground nuclear waste storage facility in west Cumbria.

Waste store protest march photo
From left, Stuart Miller, Pam Andrew, Mary Davidson and Mark Lloyd

Saturday’s protest was organised by campaign group – NO Ennerdale Nuclear Dump (NOEND) – and organisers said that about 500 people of all ages took part.

Roger Parker, a spokesman with the campaign, said: “We believe that the message is clear, nowhere in the Lake District National Park should even be considered as a site for a nuclear waste repository.”

Senior councillors from three local authorities – Cumbria County, Allerdale and Copeland councils – will decide on Wednesday whether or not their areas should stay in the running to house the storage facility.

Harry Marsland, of Keswick, added: “The eyes of the world are upon our decision makers. The outside world cannot believe we are seriously contemplating burying nuclear waste under our most beautiful landscape.”

Also on Saturday, campaign group Solway Plain Against Nuclear Dump (SPAND) presented a separate petition containing more than 3,700 signatures against the proposed underground storage facility.

Group chairman John Haywood handed the written petition to Cumbria County Council Cabinet member Tony Markley.

A group spokesman said: “The petition, which was handed to Mr Markley at the Golf Hotel in Silloth, shows the strength of local opposition to the proposal to move to Stage 4 in the search for a suitable site for a Geological Disposal Facility.”

And more than 16,000 people have signed another petition against the plan on the 38 Degrees’ ‘Campaigns by You’ website.

Peter Maher, who started the petition, said support had grown rapidly – attracting more than 1,000 names daily. He added: “I wanted to make people aware of what was going on – and it came as no surprise that the more they learned, the less they liked it.

“With a huge local petition, we can show councillors that giving these proposals the green light could cost them their seats. That’s why we would encourage anyone who is opposed to a nuclear dump in the Lake District to sign up.”

David Babbs, executive director at 38 Degrees, said he was delighted with the growth of the campaign.

He added: “This is about people power. For over 16,000 people, over one third of them from Cumbria, to sign this petition in just a few weeks sends a really clear message – that the public don’t want a nuclear dump in the Lake District.

“The councillors need to take the wishes of their constituents seriously into account before they decide to proceed any further with the nuclear dump.”

The underground facility could be as big as Carlisle and the progression from stage three to stage four of the process will involve tests to fully assess the suitability of selected sites in the west of the county.

Engineers have said it would be a bigger construction challenge than channel tunnel, it would involve tunnelling between 200 and 1,000 metres into the ground and around 1,000 construction workers would be needed to build it.

It is estimated that it would take 15 years to complete – at a projected cost of between £12bn and £20bn.

The waste would need to be stored for tens of thousands of years and it is understood that the work could begin in 2025.

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