The following article has been written by former Millom Town Councillor, Jan Bridget who has heroically exposed the nuclear tentacle grip on key West Cumbrian Town and Parish Councils being lined up as “willing communities” to host a deep and very hot nuclear waste dump.
MILLOM AND HAVERIGG BEING CONNED
1. A Councillor from Bootle (not Millom) and ex employee of Sellafield, put forward Millom as a potential site for the GDF; Copeland Borough Council (not the full Council) also proposed Millom. Millom, Millom Without and Whicham DID NOT put themselves forward, neither were their constituents asked.
2. Millom, Millom Without and Whicham Councils joined the South Copeland GDF Partnership in good faith because they were told this was how they could access the £1 million funding being made available to them whilst the area was being considered: this would go up to £2.5 million should the investigstions get to the drilling bore holes stage. So a significant incentive to remain in the Partnership.
3. NWS are using the Partnership to imply we (Millom and area) are a willing community.
4. NWS are using the Partnership to say they are in communication with the willing community (ie the Partnership). They have held several ‘events’ promoting the GDF to constituents. It is believed about 200 people attended the events in Millom and Haverigg and many of these were opposed to the GDF and told them this (nb NWS had refused to allow Radioactive Free Lakeland to have leaflets at the events to give an alternative view). But amongst the information NWS provided was a colouring book and crayons which, Cllr McGrath said was available “in case the children of anyone visiting the event got bored.” https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=g5rrdjoZc-o A group of about twenty locals (apart from one) held a demonstration outside the event in Haverigg.
5. The siting of a GDF off Haverigg (and one assumes investigations into whether land under the sea off Millom/Haverigg) can only go ahead, according to government, if there is a willing community.
6. The information available by the government gives the impression Millom (Millom Without and Whicham) could withdraw from the process at any time. This is not true. In response to a question about this Councillor Bridget was told by NWS that only they and Copeland Borough as the lead council could withdraw. If Millom Council decided to withdraw the process would continue irrespective of whether they were members of the Partnership or not.
7. On 1st August seismic surveys are about to begin off the coast of Haverigg. The constituents have NOT been asked if they support this, nor indeed, as far as we know, have members of the Partnership been asked.
8. There is more and more research becoming available which suggests these seismic surveys (despite having been used for years by the gas and oil companies) are dangerous to many marine species.
9. There are tough procedures to go through to acquire licences to be able to carry out seismic surveys, especially as there are endangered species in our area.
10. NWS have circumvented these procedures by acquiring an exemption and given the go ahead to carry out the surveys.
11. What limited consultation there has been with constituents suggests the majority are opposed to a GDF being sited near Millom. e.g Millom Without held two on-line consultations with 25 constituents, all were opposed to a GDF being sited here. A few years ago Whicham council surveyed their constituents and one of the questions was what are the three things you do not want (with another question, what three things do you want). Amongst the top three things constituents did not want was any nuclear facility. Constituents in Millom and Haverigg have not been asked. However, a poll on a community Facebook group with a membership of around 2,000 were asked what they thought about a GDF, 151 people responded, two thirds were against it, one third in favour and a few (11?) wanted more information. When a local constituent, Jan Bridget who was a new town councillor, learnt about the proposed GDF she tried to alert the Council to what was happening, but they did not want to know, all they concerned themselves with was acquiring much needed funding for their area. Councillor Bridget believed it was incumbent upon her, as a Town Councillor, to provide alternative information to that being espoused by the Partnership (NWS) and so set up a private Facebook group, Millom and District Against the GDF. Within two days there were nearly 300 members, the majority from Millom and the local villages. After a month this has grown to nearly 400 members. Councillor Bridget believed that being a member of the Partnership gave the impression Millom Council were in support of a GDF in the area. The mayor, Cllr Kelly wrote a statement to say they took a neutral stance but Cllr McGrath, chair of the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership, Millom Town Councillor and Copeland Borough Councillor, threatened to resign should it be sent out; it was agreed to ask the Partnership what to do (although it is thought nothing has happened apart from the statement not being made). The Council maintains they have a neutral stance yet opposed Councillor Bridget from communicating her opposition to the GDF as a Councillor and refused to discuss the issue.
12. Millom Council received two letters from constituents opposing the GDF and Councillor Bridget read out a statement in opposition to the GDF at the June Council meeting. Immediately after reading her statement she was verbally attacked by Councillor Billing (the Millom Council representative on the Partnership) who shouted at her, in an uncontrolled manner, accusing her of calling him a liar. Councillor Bridget did not accuse him of being a liar, she merely pointed out that he and Councillor McGrath, had informed the Council that NWS were going through all the correct channels and acquiring the relevant licences to conduct the surveys which, Councillor Bridget had discovered, was not the case. The effect of the attack was to stifle a proper debate. The Council agreed to seek clarification from the NWS about the surveys. Councillor Bridget and the Mayor, Councillor Kelly, agreed the wording of the letter and Councillor Kelly gave instructions for the letter to be sent the day before he went on leave (for a month). He confirmed to Councillor Bridget that he had sent the email the day before he went on holiday. Councillor Bridget contacted the Clerk to ascertain if the letter had been sent but was informed it had not been sent and was in the possession of the Deputy Mayor. At this point Councillor Bridget resigned from the Council.
13. Copeland have just ignored a petition of nearly 50,000 signatures against the survey and given it the go ahead.
14. Millom Without and Whicham Councils will now not meet until September
15. Millom were due to meet on 3rd August, 7 pm at office 6 Newton Street. However, they are holding an Extraordinary meeting on 21st July at 10 am to discuss a proposed statement about the GDF for their website. This will be a chance to try and stop the surveys.