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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

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Four MPs back geological search – two still undecided

FOUR of Cumbria’s six MPs favour a geological search to see if there is anywhere in the west of the county which might prove suitable to bury radioactive waste.

West Cumbria’s two MPs – Jamie Reed (Copeland) and Sir Tony Cunningham (Workington) – have given their backing along with Carlisle’s John Stevenson and Barrow’s John Woodcock following an informal Cumbria cross-party MP session in Westminster.

But Rory Stewart (Penrith and The Border) and Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) say no formal decision was reached in last Thursday’s evidence-gathering session, held ahead of the January 30 meetings in which Cumbria County Council Cabinet, Copeland and Allerdale borough council executives will decide whether to start trying to identify a potentially suitable underground site through desk top studies.

At the Westminster meeting, the six MPs discussed all the facts surrounding the process to date. Four of the six took a majority view that the three local authorities should vote ‘yes’ and move to the next stage.

Mr Reed said: “Moving to Stage 4 will enable the local geology of West Cumbria to be better understood and will ensure that a suitable community benefit package from government is established.

“The cross-party group accepts that the right for the authorities to withdraw from this process at any time – for any reason – is guaranteed.”

On their stance, Mr Stewart and Mr Farron both emphasise that they were not endorsing “any particular conclusion” and nor do they intend to do so until they have seen further evidence of what is best for Cumbria and for disposal facilities in Britain generally.

In a joint statement, the two MPs said it was not “a formal evidence session” and no formal decision was reached, adding: “It was a briefing session in which MPs were introduced to the debate over the geology underlying decisions on siting a nuclear repository.

“The MPs had a chance in private to ask serious and searching questions and to learn more about the complexity of the geological evidence. It was not a parliamentary committee operating in a formal capacity. The MPs were not tasked to produce a formal report or reach a formal conclusion. Instead it was part of an ongoing process of private briefings conducted for Cumbrian MPs on subjects ranging from the Lake District National Park to the Cumbrian Police and University of Cumbria.”

In each case the objective was to discuss Cumbrian issues freely on a cross-party basis and be updated on new issues. Their statement added: “Individual members of the committee may of course have their own strongly-held views but the committee was not intended to reach a conclusion on the basis of that session, nor did it do so.”

As well as considering written submissions, Cumbria’s MPs heard contributions from Prof Bruce Yardley (University of Leeds), Prof Stuart Haszeldine (Edinburgh University) and Bruce McKirdy, from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Meanwhile energy minister Baroness Verma has written to the three councils stressing government commitment to make “right of withdrawal” from the repository process legally binding as well as giving assurances over community benefits at a future stage.

Have your say

Lunacy!!...Sign the petition folks..Our area is NOT suitable this is a BIG mistake and one that should NOT be made by MP's...


Posted by Tina on 20 January 2013 at 00:58

Short term gains for generations of nuclear waste dumped in our county so a few MPs can pretend they're worth their salary.

Not worth it.

Posted by Rick on 19 January 2013 at 18:48

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