Melvyn Bragg and the Land Grabbing Mafia

Drilling Rigs and Herdwick, Farm Cottage Left to Rot, Footpaths Trashed
Drilling Rigs and Herdwick at “Moorside’ – Farm Cottage left to rot, Footpaths trashed – all this and much more for the “biggest nuclear development in Europe” and the nuclear taboo continues……

Letter sent today ….

Dear Lord Bragg,



When I heard your voice on the radio talking about the “disgraceful purchase of land, shameful manoeuvring, bullying mafia tactics” I thought Hurrah! Melvyn has read all our many letters to him and is at last holding the nuclear industry to account!   It was disappointing to hear that your ire was directed only at the National Trust. The nuclear industry’s land grab is far less benign. They have not only purchased several farms but also sites of important wildlife and historical importance and plan to turn these into another nuclear sacrifice zone, just as the farming hamlet of Sellafield was. No one remembers the “Yeomen of Sellafield” who farmed the land since Neolithic times until the nuclear monster arrived.


There have been many other examples of beautiful old farms having being purchased with public money in the Lake District recently, only to be taken out of farming. In Ennerdale the purchaser was the government owned United Utilities.   This is of particular concern as the less privately owned land in Ennerdale there is the more likelihood that the government can return to its diabolic plan of implementing geological disposal of heat generating nuclear wastes. We wrote to you in March of last year about this asking you to object in the House of Lords to the government making Geological dumping of nuclear waste a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.


What we said was: “I am sure you would agree that the hard-won planning protections for ancient monuments and special sites of conservation should not be scrapped in Cumbria.

This is what is being proposed right now, with Cumbria specifically in mind.

On wednesday, the House of Lords will be discussing the plan to push through legislation that will remove our right, and the right of Cumbria County Council to object to burying radioactive waste underground, anywhere.

Government hopes to do this by 2016 by adding geological disposal facilities (GDFs) to the list of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP)

NSIP forces through the government’s plans for new nuclear by denying communities the voice usually afforded to them via public inquiries.

The Government hoped the nuclear waste “problem” was going to be solved by communities coming forward to volunteer to take the waste, now that plan has fallen by the wayside the Government wants to impose it, not only by trying to remove Cumbria County Council’s right of veto, but also by designating nuclear waste burial as NSIP.

The protections of planning permission, listed building consent, scheduled monument consent and conservation area consent among others are not required by NSIP.

This already seems to be happening with regard to Moorside (proposed nuclear power station near Sellafield) where 100 (now it is over 300!) “exploratory” boreholes are now being dug on what should be protected land on the Site of Special Scientific Interest flood plain of the River Ehen.

In the same area one wind turbine up to 30m high was turned down on the grounds of wildlife and landscape (while cooling towers or vast installations at sea would cool the toxic heat of Moorside).

This total lack of scrutiny over nuclear developments will escalate should GDFs be added to the already undemocratic NSIP legislation (brought in to accommodate nuclear)

Please join other Cumbrians who love our land and say no to this diabolic plan to turn Cumbria into Europe’s largest nuclear sacrifice.”

The vast tract of land amounting to around 600 hectares including at least 3 farms between Beckermet, Sellafield and Calder Bridge was purchased by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority with taxpayer’s money, we thought as a buffer zone.   Instead this land, which is important in so many ways, has been offered (an “undisclosed sum”) to the same companies responsible for Fukushima in order to double the size of Sellafield with new nuclear build. This land the fertile plain between the mountains and the sea is historically the overwintering land of the herdwicks brought down from the fells. Now the herdwicks graze amongst the 300 “exploratory” boreholes and drilling rigs. Very soon, if the nuclear juggernaut continues to be such a taboo subject for the great and the good, the herdwicks will lose their habitat, along with the farmers, the curlew, the natterjack toad, the salmon and so much more…..lost forever.


The Nuclear industry see Cumbria as their own private fiefdom and the plan increasingly appears to do as much raping and pillaging as they can and then when the land is bespoiled and the people poisoned, the industry knows it will get paid to “clean up” the destruction. Give me the National Trust, or even the Border Rievers over the Nuclear Industry anyday!


Yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby

Founder of Radiation Free Lakeland



Land and Property purchased by the NDA


Letter to Lord Bragg




3 thoughts on “Melvyn Bragg and the Land Grabbing Mafia

  1. mariannewildart deserves to be on the Honours List for sheer persistence and commitment to preserving and protecting Cumbria. Jonathan Porritt posted recently commended her for seemingly being the only person fighting for this precious part of Britain. All power to your elbow Marianne. Love your paintings. I expect you sometimes feel as if you are fighting the hydra. I do forward your posts.

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