The following is from West Cumbria and North Lakes Friends of the Earth….. it speaks for itself!
August 21st 2012
Nuclear dump would be ‘disastrous’ for tourism
Campaigners against West Cumbria ‘volunteering’ to host a nuclear dump say it would be disastrous for the National Park’s image and tourist industry. They have conducted a survey of more than 500 visitors in Keswick, which found that 89% of people thought a dump would have an impact on the image of the National Park, and all of these thought it would be negative.
Campaigners from Friends of the Earth, Save Our Lake District – Don’t Dump Cumbria! and Radiation Free Lakeland interviewed 562 visitors between July 25th and August 13th, without saying who they were until each interview was over. They asked whether the presence of a nuclear dump either next to the National Park or underneath it would affect the Lake District’s image, and if so in what way.
Visitors said they thought it would put people off coming and would be detrimental to the image of unspoilt landscape, natural beauty, clean air and clean water. A visitor from Newcastle said ‘It’s always come across as a natural place. I can’t think of anything that could impact it more than nuclear waste’. One from Spain said ‘This is the best place in England. It would spoil this place which we love’. More worrying for the tourist industry is the comment from another Newcastle visitor: ‘Image is fragile and once destroyed it is not easily mended.’
People also mentioned concerns about leaks, safety, the impact on health, wildlife, the ecosystem, and the nuclear industry’s negative reputation. The idea of burying waste with no real certainty about what will happen to it in the long term future was also worrying – ‘not being responsible for future generations’ as one visitor from Northern Ireland put it.
The scale of the construction works was a concern too. One visitor from Lancashire said ‘It would be a huge building project and we come to the Lakes to get away from all that’.
Some people thought that the negative image attached to radioactive waste and the nuclear industry is a ‘stigma’ which might not be altogether deserved and some said that it would not affect their own plans to visit. One visitor from Northern Ireland said he didn’t like the idea but it wouldn’t stop him from coming to England’s ‘jewel in the crown’.
Dr. Ruth Balogh, nuclear issues campaigner for W Cumbria & N Lakes FoE said:
‘This survey shows how detrimental these plans are to the image of the Lake District, and how damaging they would be to the tourist industry. The MRWS Partnership conducted a study about how the dump might affect the Lake District ‘brand’, and this also showed how detrimental it would be. But they think it can be ‘mitigated’. This survey shows they might have to recruit a miracle worker to succeed! And once an image has been tainted – as the nuclear industry itself knows to its cost – it’s extremely difficult if not impossible to repair.
‘We urge local people to make their views known to their local councillors, who are going to take the crucial decision in the coming weeks.’
Further information about the survey
People were approached in the street in Keswick and after establishing that they were visitors, they were asked where they came from, and the following question was put to them:
‘Here in Cumbria the local authorities are exploring the possibility of burying the UK’s high level nuclear waste near the Lake District National Park, or underneath it. We’d like to know how you think this would affect the image of the Lake District if this were to go ahead. Do you think it would affect the image ? ‘ yes / no
People who said ‘yes’ were then asked:
‘Please tell us in what way you think it would affect the Lake District and its image ‘
A total of 562 responses was obtained, from visitors coming from all parts of the UK, and from much further afield including Spain, France, Ireland, Canada, Norway, Germany, China, Singapore, and the USA.
A total of 498 people said ‘yes’ = 88.6%. The number of people who thought it would not affect the image was 60 = 10.6%. These percentages have been rounded up. Four people said they didn’t know or had no opinion.