View from Drigg: 'We're not greedy. We just want recognition'

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Britain's new nuclear jackpot winners live amid spectacular scenery in this Cumbrian village between the Lake District and the sea. To the north, the skyline is broken by the chimneys of the vast Sellafield nuclear facility. And then there's the nuclear dump just 50 yards down the lane.

Despite these perhaps troubling neighbours, the 300 villagers are more impressed by their otherwise bucolic surroundings than by the total of 2m they, and their descendants, are about to be given in compensation for the expansion of the low-level waste repository. They don't expect to see much benefit from it and would far sooner that the sum was taken off their rates.

They are to be given 50,000 each year for the expected 40-odd-year remaining life of the dump which, to be fair, is scarcely noticeable behind concrete barriers and a police guard as part of a 75m deal with Copeland Borough Council.

John Jennings, chairman of the parish council, said the village has got too small a proportion of the total pot for "the inconvenience of hosting the site" for the past 50 years. "We're not greedy," he said. "We just want fair recognition.

"Ask Copeland Borough Council what they've spent on this parish in the past 10 years and you'd be hard pressed to come up with anything more than maintaining the roads and sending a bin lorry. People will benefit who don't even know Drigg is a village, let alone a nuclear dump." Marjorie Higham, a former local councillor, agreed. Calling the deal "bribery and corruption", she said it would benefit other areas. "It's like having the trouble in one place and the money going to another," she said.

Residents have suggested using the money to bury electricity cables from Sellafield, whose pylons mar their otherwise unspoilt views, improving public transport and supporting community schools. But most feel the best reward would be financial. "They should abolish our council tax," said Ian Dawson, 39, a gas industry contractor. "But they're not going to do that, are they?"

Philip Callery, who moved to Drigg three months ago from Pontefract, West Yorkshire, said the dump had put him off, even before news of the latest deal. "I don't disagree with nuclear power, I just don't want to live near it," he said. "But where else are you going to get a house this size at a good price?"

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