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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

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Nuclear reaction: Your views on reactor bids

SIR – In response to Coun Pitt’s letter last week, I know that the Conservative councillors in Copeland are fully behind Britain’s Energy Coast development here in West Cumbria which includes building a mix of electrical energy generating plants, including nuclear ones, and are well aware this may entail the building of one or more nuclear power stations along our coast line. SIR – Martin Forwood’s first assertion in his They Say piece of March 19 that “none of the reactor designs being assessed by the regulators have yet been built or operated and therefore have no track record whatsoever on which their safety, performance or economics can be gauged” is something worthy of coming out of Councillors D Southward, N Clarkson and D Moore’s mouths. Did they all go to the same school or somat? SIR – Following the proposal for a new-build nuclear power plant at Kirksanton in Cumbria, Whicham Parish Council, who represent the people living in the adjoining area, including the village of Silecroft, held a meeting seeking views on the proposed development. This resulted in a questionnaire being distributed to all 176 households within the parish which showed a large majority of opposition to the proposal.SIR – This is a letter sent to the Lake District National Park Authority on behalf of local residents affected by the proposed new nuclear power station at Kirksanton, Cumbria. SIR – THE below quote is for the attention of Coun Robin Pitt, whose own ideas would be more cordially received if he could recognise the rights of all individuals in the nuclear debate and all the other causes he purports to champion.

hands off: A poster on a fence post at Braystones

Fortunately there are Conservative councillors who will ensure that the fears and concerns of people who feel threatened by any development proposals are properly aired and brought to the attention of the relevant bodies. However under our UK planning procedures, in order to formally present any such concerns or to ask for certain conditions to be met, then at the various stages of the planning procedure it will be necessary for them like anyone else to make an objection.

Anyone assuming that objectors are totally against a development should study carefully what they are saying before classing them as (or suggesting that they are) NIMBYs.

David GRAY

Copeland Conservative Association

SIR – Oh dear, Robin Pitt is on his soapbox again (Letters, April 16). Once again it is my opinion it is for the greater glory of Robin Pitt.

It is not very long ago he put his money on eco-tourism being the way ahead for the future economy of Millom. Now he realises there are more brownie points to be had by backing a possibility of Kirksanton being a site for a nuclear power plant: to hell with eco-tourism, who wants a pleasant environment anyway?

Be careful, Mr Pitt, when you bundle people together when you know nothing about them. I am not one of the “largely affluent people” he refers to as being against the plans for Kirksanton. I may be guilty of saying nuclear power is the way forward but not in my backyard thank you. I am 100 per cent AGAINST Kirksanton being used, or Braystones.


Port Haverigg, Millom

Good job the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong and the like never took and held his views.


Longcroft, Egremont

Due to the need for representation, Whicham Action Group has been formed. Its aim is to work closely with the existing Kirksanton Action Group and is fully supported by the parish council.

Many reports suggest Kirksanton is close to the Sellafield site and that that somehow justifies its nomination. These are misleading. Kirksanton is 20 miles from Sellafield and the village of Silecroft, which borders the site, sits within the Lake District National Park.

Objections to the proposed site are wide ranging and Whicham Action Group will serve to ensure these are heard. We are urging people to visit this area and to see what the proposal will destroy.


To: Steve Ratcliffe

Director of Planning and Partnerships

Lake District National Park Authority.

Dear Mr Ratcliffe,

Now that the nomination by RWEnpower has been formally submitted proposing the construction of a nuclear power facility at Kirksanton, I am writing to enquire as to the official response the Lake District National Park Authority is proposing.

We represent the residents of Silecroft and the parish of Whicham, living on this beautiful stretch of undeveloped coastline within the National Park boundary approximately one kilometre away from the proposed site. This greenfield site would stretch for 300 acres and would have boundaries shared by the National Park on one side and the Ramsar designated/ SPA of the Duddon Estuary on the other. The site currently houses a source of renewable energy production, the Haverigg I/II/III wind farm and a popular, long-established golf course which also lies partly within the National Park. The beach adjoining the site has consistently won Blue Flag awards and is also a popular local amenity attracting tourists, water sports and horse riding enthusiasts from around the country.

We are proud of this area and would like to commend the National Park on the contribution it has made in protecting this area from major development in the past. We also acknowledge the important role the authority has in planning the future strategies for this area. As such, we would welcome an acknowledgment from yourselves that the nomination of Kirksanton for an industrial development of this scale is at odds with the aspirations of the LNDP Authority and the partnerships it has with other bodies representing this part of West Cumbria.

As you will be aware, the site nomination report produced by Arup has included a basic assessment of the environmental impact of this development principally on the adjoining Ramsar site of the Duddon Estuary to the south of the site. However, it comments very little on the impact to the north side immediately adjacent to the National Park boundary. Not only is this northern boundary incorrectly described as being 300 metres from the National Park, the few cursory comments regarding the mitigation of the visual appearance of this enormous site including the planting of trees etc woefully underestimate the actual aesthetic, visual, environmental, economic and logistical impacts and the possible damage to public perception of the National Park not only in this location but as a whole.

We realise that some of these impacts, especially ones relating to the transport infrastructure and the ramifications of national grid connectivity, are under criteria reserved for consideration at a later date and would undoubtedly involve detailed consultation with the LDNP Authority via the NPS process. However, we feel that the inadequate justifications and mitigations already suggested by this nomination deserve an official and swift response from the authority during this initial short period of public debate permitted under the SSA framework.

As local residents, we recognise the fine balance that has to be struck between the needs of this area in terms of employment opportunities and sustained economic growth, the needs of the environment and the needs of small communities such as ourselves living in the National Park, many of which are dependant on tourism as well as local industry. As such, we accept without question that proposals to develop the existing nuclear site at Sellafield are a necessary step in achieving this balance. Energy production is undoubtedly a feature of this area and many of the residents we represent have worked or are currently employed in the nuclear industry. Indeed, the proposed site already hosts an on-shore wind farm which would presumably have to be dismantled to accommodate the proposed power station. Rather, our objections lie solely in the scale of this proposal and the awkward juxtaposition of such a large heavy industrial development on a greenfield site alongside such environmentally- sensitive areas and the concomitant loss of tourism opportunity and local amenities which this area offers.

As the guardians of this beautiful area, we feel that the National Park Authority could and should exert considerable and immediate influence on the outcome of this initial consultation process and offer support to our small community in our efforts to oppose the selection of this specific site.


On behalf of Whicham Action Group


“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Let’s have more attention to politics and less venomous personal muck slinging.

Shame on you for your nasty attack on Coun Clarkson! She was doing her job as a ward councillor acknowledging the opinions of the residents. This is not opposition to the principle of nuclear new build, it is democracy. It is also highly insulting to imply that people living in the rural parishes, where the proposed sites are located, are selfish, affluent and privileged. Most people work hard to establish their homes and businesses and it is only natural to defend hearth and home.

A healthy, informative and civilised debate respecting every opinion could well elevate fears and bring about a form of consensus through public participation. There is also the potential to negotiate for ‘planning gains’, which will benefit rural and urban economies.

I fear Coun Pitt is unable to grasp conceptually the unique sociological, cultural and political construction of this area and the differences within it. Rural interests and economies differ from those of urban areas. Millom is an ex-industrial town, which is seeking to re-establish its identity. Therefore nuclear new build promises a huge advantage to the town. Town councillors, irrespective of political persuasion, were representing the interests of their ward residents, when they agreed unanimously to support the proposal to build a power station at Kirksanton, subject to full consultation and environmental reports etc.

Kirksanton residents, villagers, farmers tourist business proprietors etc are running an entirely different economy. They still have a right to be heard and accommodated in the final decision.

Millom is an anomaly, an intersection in the town/country divide in that it is a politically Conservative urban area in Copeland (unlike the other towns). The rural parishes are traditionally Conservative.

This does not represent a split in the local Conservative Party. If Coun Pitt thinks that he can apply this divide-and-rule tactic, he has another thought coming! The party nationally and locally is supportive of nuclear power and of making Cumbria an Energy Coast. Respectively, I assure you Copeland Conservatives (including the Millom branch) remain 100 per cent loyal to Coun Clarkson as the local chair. In local politics, ward councillors endeavour to represent the interests of their ward residents. In Millom and Egremont those interests are urban based. In Kirksanton and Brayside (Beckermet) they are rural based economies.

Apply this quotation thoughtfully to the nuclear new-build debate.

JS Mill On Liberty:

“It is not on the impassioned partisan, it is on the calmer and more disinterested bystander, that this collision of opinions works its salutary effect. Not the violent conflict between parts of the truth, but the quiet suppression of half of it, is the formidable evil; there is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides; it is when they attend only to one that errors harden into prejudice, and truth itself ceases to have the effect of truth by being exaggerated into falsehood”.


Churchill Drive, Millom


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