Lake District threatened by nuclear waste again
Controversial plans for toxic dumping back on table eight months after being rejected
Controversial plans to bury highly toxic nuclear waste under the Lake District are back on the table just eight months after being conclusively rejected.
The proposals were dismissed by Cumbria County Council in January – but now the Government has enraged opponents by proposing to switch the final say to the district council.
The county council’s decision to abandon plans for the underground radioactive wastage storage centre near Sellafield was a major blow to government ambitions to build new nuclear power plants. Cumbria had been the only area to show an interest in storing such waste.
But a new consultation launched by the Government could sidestep the problem, by shifting the final say on whether an area can house a deep storage facility for nuclear waste from the county to the district council.
Cumbria County Council voted by more than 2 to 1 to pull out of feasibility studies into such a facility, following expert critiques of the fractured local geology and an international outcry over the threat to the Western Lake District. That vote over-ruled votes by the local Copeland and Allerdale District Councils to proceed.
The Government is selling its proposed change to the voting rule on the basis that it “represents an additional layer of consent – giving local communities the opportunity to decide whether or not they wise to proceed with the development of a GDF [geological disposal facility]”.
Geoff Betsworth, a local activist, disagrees. “It is a shock. It is undermining democracy to remove a layer of government in Cumbria county council. It is Orwellian and they will push it through regardless.”
The consultation also pledges to increase the incentives for local communities to host nuclear waste storage facilities and to enshrine the “right to withdraw” from the project at a later stage. Cumbria councillors cited the fear of being locked into a binding process as one of the main reasons for voting to pull out before geological studies began.
The proposed £12bn Cumbria storage site would create 1,000 construction jobs and 500 full-time jobs. A kilometre underground and the size of Carlisle, it would open for storage by 2047 and hold dangerous material for 100,000 years.
Jamie Reed, the Labour MP for Copeland, said he expected several districts to volunteer in Cumbria as well as in other areas that hadn’t previously shown any interest. “If you look at the strong support in the area, I would think Copeland will have a look again. I would expect communities in Kent, Cornwall and Wales to look as well. I think lessons from the previous debacle have been learnt.”
Elaine Woodburn, leader of the Copeland Council, suggested that her district council might have a stronger incentive than most to host the facility because it was in its interest to ensure the waste was properly disposed of.
A spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “This would have a profound and long-term positive economic impact on the area selected for the site, stimulating local businesses, supply chains and providing skilled jobs and training opportunities.”
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Bill Cosby: Isn’t it obvious why his accusers have stayed silent up until now?
- 5 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Sarah Vine on Jack Monroe being a lesbian mother: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
Michael Brown shooting: Ten things we know – or know better – now the Ferguson grand jury's work is over
Ferguson riots: The most powerful images to emerge from protests over Michael Brown killing
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...
£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...
£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...