Monday, 30 November 2015

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New group aims to stop underground nuclear waste store in Cumbria

A new group has been launched today to stop an underground nuclear waste dump being built in west Cumbria.

Eddie Martin photo
Eddie Martin

The Cumbria Trust says it will campaign against any store on “geological and safety” grounds and fight to preserve the integrity of the Lake District.

The trust’s initial board members include former Cumbria County Council leader Eddie Martin, lawyer John Wilson, from Keswick and Geoff Betsworth, from Silloth.

It wants to build on the county council's decision earlier this year to stop Cumbria being considered as the site of a huge store for high-level radioactive material. Both Allerdale and Copeland said they wanted to continue.

The Department of Environment and Climate Change has since has launched a new consultation which enables the district councils to continue without the county.

Mr Martin, who retired as the county council leader in May and lives in Crosby, said the government’s decision to exclude the county is “astonishingly undemocratic”.

“Whilst David Cameron talks about the big society and localism he abandons these principles when they do not suit him,” he said.

Mr Wilson, a local commercial lawyer from Keswick, said: “Anyone can see what is going on here – it is a shameless, brazen, unlawful and outrageous attempt by the Government to usurp our democratic rights to get the result they want.”

Mr Betsworth said he felt democracy was being side-stepped with the latest development and they wanted to provide a co-ordinated voice to the campaign.

He said: “We are not, as a group, anti-nuclear; what we are against is an erosion of democracy. It’s not nimbyism at all. They are ruling out the waste authority and they are not taking into account the parish councils.”

Mr Betsworth said that, while there was already a lot of nuclear waste and correct storage had to be found, it had to be in the right place.

“We are against putting the waste where it would be irresponsible to do so,” he added.

Mr Parker described the organisation as a “coordinated umbrella group” and added: “I am amazed that local councils across the country are not jumping up and down about this process. It’s an assault to democracy.”

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