West Cumbria is being treated like a “third world colony” over plans for a new nuclear power station.

That’s the view of a leading Allerdale councillor as he responded to the latest consultation on the proposed Moorside plant at Sellafield.

The council’s executive committee met on Wednesday to discuss its response to the second phase of consultation on the plans.

Councillors accused NuGen, the consortium behind the project, of seeking to suck resources and profit out of west Cumbria without any tangible community benefits.

Councillor Mike Heaslip said: “I’m getting used to the idea of what it’s like to live in a third world colony, because that’s how we’re treated.”

He accused the consortium of trying to buy west Cumbria’s support for “a bag of coloured beads”.

Mr Heaslip added: “They’re going to come here, use our resources to make their profits which [then] are going to disappear out of the area.

“There’s no commitment to any community legacy or social value.”

Councillor Mark Fryer, deputy leader, accused the consortium of putting “a dagger through the heart of the Port of Workington” by planning to bring much of its sea-based cargo in via a marine offshore loading facility next to Moorside.

He said that plans to source 5,500 construction workers from outside Cumbria, with almost half from outside the UK, would also harm the local housing market and access to health services.

Private rent would become unaffordable for locals, he added.

Mr Fryer reported that health services were already struggling, with one patient phoning her surgery more than 60 times before securing an appointment with a GP.


He said: “What they’re doing is introducing a town just [smaller] than Cockermouth into the system.

“We’re going to bring these people in and expect the current system to just carry on regardless.”

Councillors raised concerns about the lack of significant road and rail improvements planned under the scheme.

Mr Fryer said: “There are real issues about the benefit of such a huge infrastructure project that’s going to be placed onto west Cumbria with minimal connections to it.

“If we’re to benefit from such a huge development, the pay off back into the community has got to reflect that and it just doesn’t.”

Councillor Bill Jefferson said the community needed more than just the pledge of long-term jobs from the project.

He added: “There’s no point dragging well-paid jobs into this because they’re going to be at Sellafield forever.”

Councillor Phil Tibble added: “We’re dependent on the nuclear industry.

“That’s fine, but it’s the added value that we’re missing and the investment into communities.

“The consultation doesn’t show there’s going to be any investment and any benefits for the people in Allerdale.”

Council leader Alan Smith called on NuGen to do more to help local youngsters take on jobs, rather than shipping people in from outside.

The committee is demanding a further round of consultation, which it says must be serious consultation, before NuGen seeks planning permission from the Government. NuGen plans to apply for a development consent order from the Government next spring and hopes to begin construction of the marine offshore landing facility in 2018.

Work to build the three-reactor power station would start in 2019, under the current plan, and take until 2026.

Temporary accommodation sites are planned for up to 4,000 construction workers. Those sites would be returned to their previous start by 2028, the consortium plans.