Please write and object to the obscenity of the nuclear laundry at Lillyhall.  The official date for the ‘consultation’ ends on Friday (just four weeks this consultation – the laundry has been operating illegally since November!)

Here is our objection from Radiation Free Lakeland, please do feel free to use this as inspiration for your own letter.

The more letters that are sent the better, It doesn’t need to be long just a sentence or two to say you oppose the laundry and that it is in clear breach of Allerdale’s Borough Council’s own climate, transport, water quality and health,  planning regulations.

 The email to write to is:

and quote:  FUL/2019/0187



Retrospective Planning Application : FUL/2019/0187

Dear Planning Management Team,

I would be very grateful if this could be forwarded on to all councillors on the Development Panel.

Radiation Free Lakeland vehemently oppose the continued operation of this illegal nuclear laundry which has been washing Sellafields ‘factory basics’  on the Lillyhall Business Park since November of last year with no scrutiny or planning permission by either the overarching authority Cumbria County Council, or by the Borough Council of Allerdale.

We ask that you do not reward this illegal nuclear laundry with retrospective planning permission and halt the nuclear laundry with immediate effect.  

The Nuclear Laundry is not only in breach of planning permission but it contravenes the following:

Allerdale Local Plan (Part 1) – Adopted July 2014

1.   327 “Allerdale has relatively low levels of pollution due to the rural nature of the area and, to date, no Air Quality Management Areas have been designated. Air quality in both urban and rural areas is constantly threatened by pollution from human activity. This policy sets out the Councils approach to ensuring that air and water quality are protected and enhanced”.   Radioactive emissions to Air and Water are described in the permit from the Environment Agency which was awarded to the Energy Coast Laundry following a brief one month consultation of which we were unaware. Local Parish Councillors tell us they were also unaware of this.  (see images below)

2.  S35 Air, Water and Soil Quality 

“The quality of air and water resources within the (Allerdale Local ) Plan Area will be protected and opportunities for enhancement will be pursued.

Unless adequate mitigation measures can be secured, development proposals will be resisted that would have a demonstrable direct and/or indirect adverse impact on; 

  • a)  Air quality and/or atmospheric conditions;
  • b)  The characteristics of surrounding soils and substrata – through either
    physical (compaction, erosion) or chemical (pollution, contamination);
  • c)  The chemical composition and quality of waterbodies in the Plan Area;
  • d)  The Water Framework Directive and the status of the watercourse.”

Clearly the operation of the Energy Coast Laundry represents a novel and cumulative impact on Air and Water quality by cocktail of radionuclides and chemicals.   The radioactive wastes from Energy Coast Laundry will go direct to the sewer system which culminates at the sewage works at Parton and is piped into the Solway Firth.  Increasingly, sludge from sewage works  is now being put onto agricultural land.  While pathogens in the sludge can (usually) be killed off by liming, the cumulative impact of radionuclides from the Energy Coast Laundry would impact human health and the wider environment in novel ways. No matter how much water is used in the washing of the nuclear laundry the ‘dilute and disperse’ policy does not make radioactive isotopes disappear.   The perception and the reality of continuing the illegal nuclear laundry means that Allerdale and Copeland residents would experience threat to both their amenity and their health.

3.  S29- “requires development to incorporate sustainable drainage systems”.   This must include prevention of cumulative radioactive materials being discharged down the drains!   

4.  S36 “seeks to enhance air quality”

5.  S4, S32 “seeks to safeguard the amenity of existing residents.” 

6.  S24- “seeks to promote opportunities for farmers” 

7.  S2  supports local food production” 

8.  S37 Shoreline Management and Coastal Development 

  1. 331.“The coastline is one of Allerdale’s most valuable economic, social, environmental and historic assets. The outstanding scenery, seascapes and harbours attract visitors, the ports are an important source of employment and commerce; the miles of beaches and shores provide free access for local residents to enjoy outdoor recreation and sports and the numerous internationally protected wildlife and habitat designations are an extremely important environmental resource.”

The Energy Coast Laundry also breaches Cumbria County Council’s Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2017

9.  POLICY DC1 Traffic and transport 

Proposals for minerals and waste developments should be located where they:  c. minimise operational “minerals and waste road miles” where practicable”.   

Clearly Sellafield’s outsourcing of its laundry 16 miles away increases road miles substantially.  The laundry vans turn around up to 7.75 tons of laundry a day, every day.

10. 13.12  “It is expected that proposals will, where appropriate, be accompanied by relevant assessments. These assessments are likely to be identified during pre-application discussions or if a scoping opinion has been requested, and may include: noise, light, dust, blast vibration, air over-pressure, visual intrusion, traffic, increased flood risk, impacts on the flow, quality and quantity of surface and ground water, health impact and migration of contamination from the site. This is a non-exhaustive list, as each proposal will have its own requirements.”


CCC POLICY DC2 General criteria 

11. Minerals and waste proposals must, where appropriate, demonstrate that: 

  • assessments have been carried out, the relevant scope of which have been agreed in advance with the planning authority, and proposals have been designed to address, where relevant, impacts on the natural and historic environment or human health;
  • the proposal would not give rise to significant adverse impacts upon local air quality, particularly within an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) designated by the district authority;

12.  POLICY DC6 Cumulative environmental impacts 

Cumulative impacts of minerals and waste development proposals will be assessed in the light of other land-uses in the area. Where appropriate, considerations will include: 

  • all environmental aspects including habitats and species, visual impact, landscape character, cultural heritage, noise, air quality, ground and surface water resources and quality, agricultural resources and flood risk;

 13.  Climate Change

  • 6.6  Minimising use of fresh water, and consequent energy use in wastewater treatment, also has a significant role in reducing energy use and consequent greenhouse gas emissions. This can be relevant for oil and gas exploration, and other minerals and waste developments that use mains water supply or connect to public sewers.
  • 6.28  The County Council considers that minerals and waste developments should minimise traffic emissions by being optimally located in relation to the area they serve.


  • 14.7  The Strategic Policies include a detailed policy (SP5) for development criteria related to Low Level radioactive wastes (LLW) and policy SP6 for higher activity wastes. If a proposal came forward on a nuclear site, all relevant development control policies would be used to determine the application; unlike conventional waste streams, no specific development control policy has been prepared for radioactive wastes.

Allerdale BC should be aware that Cumbria County Council as the overarching authority is clearly abdicating its stated policy objectives and responsibilities.  As CCC’s Strategic Policy says, there is no road map for radioactive wastes.   So instead of “all relevant development control policies”  Cumbria County Council has given no scrutiny to this application apart from the most cursory one paragraph letter that  incredibly supports the Energy Coast Laundry’s retrospective planning application to Allerdale Borough Council.

In Conclusion

It is clear that Energy Coast Laundry is in breach of Borough, County and National Planning Directives.  The massive water use alone in an area that is already experiencing water stress is an obscenity. This is no ordinary laundry. It is using up to 50 cubic metres of water a day – the same as a small town.  This is set to grow with the ECL website stating that it caters for the nuclear industry as a whole, not ‘just’ Sellafield.  Nuclear laundry is set to be travelling through the Lake District.  This is not sustainable especially when Sellafield has its own dedicated water supplies from Wastwater, the Rivers Ehen and Calder and elsewhere.   The Energy Coast Laundry should not be awarded retrospective planning permission to wash Sellafield’s dirty clothes on the Lillyhall Business Park,  a stones throw from students, food outlets and play facilities for youngsters.

Yours sincerely

Marianne Birkby

On behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland

CC ‘d

Stewart Young Leader of Cumbria County Council  by email

Sue Hayman MP for Workington by email

Trudy Harrison MP for Copeland by email

Tim Farron MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale by email


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