Radiation Free Lakeland were at the Cabinet Meeting of Cumbria County Council today in Carlisle. The meeting was to discuss the Council’s “response” to the latest trap for them set by Government. RaFL have been urging people not to “respond” to this trap directly to but write to DECC and others strongly opposing the “process” which leads to only one outcome – a nuclear dump under Cumbria.
Understandably Cumbria County Council are very angry that government is planning to airbrush them out of the picture. The CONsultation was written specifically with Cumbria’s two tier authority of District and County Council in mind. Following the County’s NO vote Government now just wants to make a deal with the few nuclear patsies on Allerdale and Copeland’s District Council Executive.
Cumbria County Council’s policy on geological dumping was outlined by Council Leader Stuart Young.”We support deep geological disposal but only if it is safe and waste can be monitored and retrieved and that means not necessarily in Cumbria.” I spoke to Stuart Young on the way into the meeting and asked him to reconsider the Council’s support for geological disposal. There is no other county in the frame and not likely to be which means that the government will keep on coming back again and again and airbrushing away inconveniences like the County’s No vote. This will happen again and again unless the County Council and others work to oppose the concept of geological disposal not just in Cumbria but anywhere. “Anywhere” is not going to volunteer but it is the means by which the lie is continued that this is a National process and Cumbria are merely “responding” – NO – we are being caught in a clever trap. The whole point of geological dumping is to try to put the waste out of the reach of future generations this makes a nonsense of also aiming for the sane option of constant monitoring and retrieval – the two are incompatible and the sooner Cumbrian Councillors and groups working to stop the dump realise this the better chance we have of a Radiation Free Lakeland (“Lakeland” including the Greater Lakeland of West Cumbria!)
Field Notes from Today’s Meeting – please note this was taken down by hand any mistakes are mine
Before the discussion on the CONsultation there was a report discussed on the Local Enterprise Partnership. New Nuclear is one of the proposed “growth” areas There was no mention of the increased waste.
Stuart Young: MRWS ceased on 30th January. It is however unclear whether this process is a new process or a continuation of the old one. Cumbria County Councils existing policy is to support deep geological disposal but only if it is safe and waste can be monitored and retrieved and that means not necessarily in Cumbria. Members have had many representations from members of the public on both sides some saying our draft response is too weak and some saying it is too strong. The Consultation document from DECC proposes changes which do not adequately express our concerns from the 30th. Baroness Verma has written to the local paper or perhaps the letter was penned by the chap who has gone off on unpaid leave (this means Mark Higson from the Office of Nuclear Development) has said that “There would be no additional jobs associated with continued storage compared with the construction of a GDF”. This is civil service speak. Once a GDF is built its built whereas storage and monitoring goes on, in the long term there would be more jobs. The Right of Withdrawal is still not written into statute. On Community Benefits Baroness Verma who is unelected has said there would be 100s of £millions but again there is nothing in reply to questions for detail. We know that monetary help for West Cumbria from Government is abysmal. On the Community Benefits they have said that the money cannot be spent until the community commits to hosting. If they withdraw the money is clawed back by government. If a volunteer community came forward in Cornwall or Northumbria they are Unitary Authorities whereas Cumbria is a two tiered authority with the County and District Councils. The new process is unworkable and brazen. The not only have the goal posts have been moved but one of the teams has been sent off and the other is trying to dig a big hole in the pitch.
David Southward: Commends the draft report by Cabinet. The new process is fundamentally wrong – this for the whole of the UK – the government will peddle its wares around the country searching for a county to host a GDF. If and when this happens it would be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project bigger than the Channel Tunnel or an Airport. Stuart Young is the only Cabinet member from the 30th January meeting to have given coherent reasons for refusing. Be assured it doesn’t matter whether it goes in a hole in the ground or in a sheds on Seascale Golf Club what matters is that it is safe. No human endeavour is 100% safe. The decision taken by Cabinet on the 30th may have sullied Government view of West Cumbria and the nuclear scene. I agree that it is nonsense to give this decision to District Councils. On Geology certainty is unachievable you have got to be prepared to modify design depending on what you find in the geology. The inventory is left open because of uncertainty if there is a use for Plutonium. No one wants to buy MOX if it were to go into the repository this would make the structure larger and more expensive. I cannot support the recommendation.
Jo Stephenson: I will be supporting the recommendation 3.1 it is of national significance and that public support should be tested with a Countywide referendum only that would have a realistic prospect of the project commanding public support.
Clare Feeny-Johnson: This is about the process and it is a national process, I am happy with the wording. This is about the whole of Cumbria. On geology engineering solutions can make anything fit but should’nt have to it should be the best. We are the best county in the country to give feedback on the process to DECC.
Ann Burns: The Irish Sea was the most radioactive in the world before Sellafield started the clean up process. Most waste is sitting in West Cumbria. We need to keep talking about this it isn’t going to go away it cannot be magiked away. No one is going to have any trust in the process if they step in to remove Cumbria County Council from the right to have our say.
Vote – 9 support the draft response – David Southward abstains
The new CONsultation can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239237/Consultation_Review_of_the_siting_process_for_a_GDF_FINAL.pdf
Radiation Free Lakeland are not responding directly to this sham CONsultation which blatantly shoves aside any semblance of local democracy and even says that that any challenges from non government experts contrary to the geological disposal agenda will merely be used for “more effective policy and delivery” of geological dumping (pg 34 2.82).
We are urging all groups, all local councils, parish and district and county to strongly oppose this new route to geological dumping under Cumbria.
Please write opposing the sham and the geological dumping agenda – the more people who write and ACTIVELY oppose this the more chance Cumbrians have of continuing their lives and livelihoods in Cumbria.
Put up signs in fields, houses, gardens – write, write, email, phone, get creative – RESIST!
Ed Davey MP
Department of Energy and Climate Change
3 Whitehall Place