A Letter to Cumbria’s Cabinet: Please Dont’ Abdicate Your Responsibility, Reinstate Radiation Monitoring

Oh pardon me thou bleeding piece of earth that I am meek and gentle with these butchers!   W. Shakespeare
Oh pardon me thou bleeding piece of earth that I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
W. Shakespeare

Dear Cumbria County Council Cabinet,

Radiation Free Lakeland will be delivering 101 letters to you on Thursday from people in both Cumbria and Lancashire asking that these two county councils reinstate independent radiation monitoring.

The nuclear industry is being deregulated allowing novel routes for radioactive wastes into for example landfill and scrap metal destined for the open market. Radiation Free Lakeland has been blowing the whistle on this for many years.  It is entirely predictable that higher activity wastes than those ‘allowed” under the new deregulations will continue to be “accidently” dumped.   Sellafield was fined almost a £million in 2013 for sending 1 bag of intermediate level waste and 3 bags of low level wastes to Lillyhall unbeknown to the public, but predicted by Radiation Free Lakeland. The fine came out of the public purse while the operators of the landfill, FCC and Energy Solutions have never been prosecuted. In May last year when the people of Workington wrote over 100 letters to Tony Cunningham asking why there was no prosecution the reply from Ed Davey was:

“the Environment Agency did not take enforcement action against Waste Recycling Group ( FCC) ..because WRG did not knowingly breach its environmental permit”

This is some cop out! Why didn’t they know?

The people supposedly monitoring radioactive content of lorries filled with black bin bags of radioactive waste are Energy Solutions. Energy Solutions also run the Magnox sites which are bringing tonnes of radioactive waste into Lillyhall from as far away as Chapelcross.   It seems that private companies have some mafia like hold.

When Radiation Free Lakeland visited the FCC/Energy Solutions landfill at Lillyhall last month on a weekday to take a look at the outside of the site it was deserted. There was one lady there, Christine Ward an accountant who seemed genuinely surprised when we said that nuclear waste was arriving at the site. She vigorously denied this but agreed to pass on our questions to the operators.

The operators say that their permit “requires stringent monitoring.” We asked for clarification but we have never received a reply.

We asked: “Please can you tell us what the stringent monitoring of the wastes consists of?

For example is every lorry of “exempt” “HVVLLW” coming in from Chapelcross and other nuclear sites to Lillyhall checked?

How is it checked?

How is the “controlled release of radioactivity to groundwater” described in the EU technical report attached achieved and monitored?”

We applaud Cumbria County Council’s opposition to geological disposal. However the County’s support for new build and the dispersal of wastes by novel routes is a real and present threat to the people of Cumbria. There is an escalation of risk to the public but at the same time an abdication of responsibility for that risk. We ask that Cumbria County Council take responsibility and introduce independent radioactive monitoring in Cumbria of the kind that Barrow Town Council did up to 2007 and Lancashire County Council (RADMIL) did up until a few years ago.

Yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby

On behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland

Recent correspondence with Lillyhall landfill is below:

—————————- Original Message —————————-

Subject: Re: Lillyhall Landfill Site

From:   wildart@mariannebirkby.plus.com

Date:   Tue, April 28, 2015 1:04 pm

To:     “Mark Pailing” <Mark.Pailing@fccenvironment.co.uk>


Dear Mark,

Thank you for the email.

Please can you tell us what the stringent monitoring of the wastes

consists of?

For example is every lorry of “exempt” “HVVLLW” coming in from Chapelcross

and other nuclear sites to Lillyhall checked?

How is it checked?

How is the “controlled release of radioactivity to groundwater” described

in the EU technical report attached achieved and monitored?

yours sincerely,


Marianne Birkby

Radiation Free Lakeland

Euratom Lillyhall Technical Report 2011

“A recent Hydrogeological Risk Assessment has demonstrated that the

proposed modifications to the design are sufficient for the controlled

release of radioactivity in the HV-VLLW to groundwaters.

It is expected that the HV-VLLW will arrive at the Lillyhall Landfill Site

in skips or tipper trucks. The waste will be covered during transport to

prevent the re-suspension of dust and water ingress. Plastic liners or

super sacks may be used to reduce any contamination of the transport

container. The HV- VLLW will be loose-tipped to one side of the cell and

non-radioactive waste will be disposed to other parts of the cell. HV VLLW

is proposed to be deposited in its own dedicated cell and once complete

this area will be engineered in the same manner as the dedicated asbestos

cell, after which it will be covered with non-hazardous waste. There will

be no intimate mixing between the radioactive and non- radioactive wastes.

The waste will be tipped in such a way as to ensure that large gradients

in slope do not arise, there is no slumping of the waste and the addition

of a soil layer on top of the HV-VLLW is practicable.

It is planned that, after each disposal operation, the radioactive waste

will be covered with a layer of soil. The thickness of the soil will be

sufficient to ensure that particulate material in the waste cannot be

blown away by the wind. It has been estimated that 3% to 20% of soil will

be added”.

Letter from DECC to Radiation Free Lakeland


> For the attention of Marianne Birkby


> Good morning Ms Birkby


> I understand you visited Lillyhall Landfill Site last week, but

> unfortunately the Site Manager was not present at the time.


> I’ve received a number of queries from yourself via Christine Ward who I

> believe you met on site relating to the facility and the disposal of Very

> Low Level Nuclear Waste at the site.


> The site received a planning extension to June 2029 for disposal of both

> hazardous and non hazardous waste, including VLLW materials, in March

> 2014. The site also received a permit from the Environment Agency for

> disposal of such materials in April 2011. Both the planning permission and

> permit require stringent monitoring of the wastes received at site.


> I trust this clarifies the situation with regards disposal of VLLW waste

> at the Lillyhall facility.


> regards



> Mark Pailing – Area Manager – Landfill North

> Direct Dial: 01244 303404 | Mobile: 07980 780785 | Email:

> Mark.Pailing@fccenvironment.co.uk

> FCC Environment | Gowy | Ince Lane | Wimbolds Trafford | Chester |

> Cheshire | CH2 4JP | http://www.fccenvironment.co.uk/

4 thoughts on “A Letter to Cumbria’s Cabinet: Please Dont’ Abdicate Your Responsibility, Reinstate Radiation Monitoring

  1. Energy Solutions is owned and operated mostly by former Goldman Sachs Investment bankers. I think they now own Barnwell in South Carolina which is a radioactive mess, along with the travesty of a radioactive dump west of Salt Lake City Utah. They are owners of the ALPS system at Fukushima which has not properly filtered the water. Investment bankers have no business doing nuclear waste. Nuclear waste must be invested in for the safety of future generations and not for a profit!

  2. I just re-read the letter from Mark Pailing and he did not at all answer you. People need to call or write until he answers. But, really it is the government’s responsibility to check and check as it exits the sites. The only answer I have found on this topic was from a waste management organization – I think on the IAEA web site – where they describe the lorries passing a radiation monitor as they leave the site. I think it was in California. Obviously this will not catch alpha or beta and opens itself up to all sorts of abuses such as putting more highly radioactive gamma emitters in the middle with dirt packed on the outside. Then there is how much radiation in total the site takes. Is it lined? Is the effluent tested? And by whom? Various kinds of testing need to be introduced by local authorities.
    This is the most criminal of all and only you, and one environmentalist in Tennessee, have warned people about it.

  3. MANY THANKS to people who came along today. Over 200 letters were handed in many sent in individually. The Cabinet gave a brief reply that radiation monitoring is carried out in a general way by government: RIFE and RIMNET… this does not answer our request for independent ongoing radiation monitoring at Lillyhall and elsewhere. If only the council were as serious and officious about radiation monitoring as they were today about asking us to remove our banners from outside the council offices….UNBelievable!

  4. Pingback: Council Urged: No Fracking in Lancashire – Take Responsibility for Existing Risk! | Radiation Free Lakeland

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