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Thursday, 30 July 2015

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Let county councils have a say on burying N-waste, DECC told

COUNTY councils rather than borough councils should have the final say on whether an area hosts an underground repository for high-level nuclear waste.

by Andrew Clarke

That’s the view of the majority of those who have responded to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) consultation into what format the next repository search process should take.

Of the 719 responses DECC received – from councils, individuals and other interested parties around the country including a high number from Cumbria – more than 50 per cent disagreed with new proposals that would see a district authority, such as Copeland or Allerdale, take the decision-making power away from the county.

Copeland and Allerdale Councils say they “broadly support” this revised approach, albeit with countywide consultation, while Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) are among those who give the view that the county should have the overriding decision.

DECC this week published a summary of the consultation it ran between September and December last year. It is considering the responses received ahead of launching a new search later this year.

Under the previous Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) process, Cumbria County Council’s decision in January 2013 not to proceed to the next stage ended Copeland and Allerdale’s involvement against their wishes. The move sent DECC back to the drawing board in its search for a long-term solution to manage high-level radioactive waste.

DECC reports: “The majority [more than 50 per cent] of respondents disagree with the revised [county/borough] roles in the siting process.

“Respondents expressed specific concern about the role proposed for district councils in England, with a few arguing that, because a GDF could span district council boundaries, this tier of local government should not have sole responsibility for exercising the right of withdrawal.”

The majority of respondents also say that public support should be secured before an area loses its right to withdraw, although “opinions are mixed on how it should be carried out.”

The summary adds: “The main arguments of those who agreed with a test of public support were that this would ensure that the siting process was democratic and that it would support decision making by local authorities.

“Some respondents suggested that there should be a test of public support early in the siting process.

“Of those commenting on specific means of testing public support, many [more than 70 per cent] expressed the view that this should be through a referendum, although a number of these responses recognised the potential risk of bias in the event of low turnout.”

Have your say

Hey grip, you know Sellafield Borou. i mean Copeland Borough Council has ruled out a referendum on the nuclear dump, too? Pretty unfair to single one side of an argument out for doing something the other intends to do anyway.

I'd love a free vote on the thing, it'd never happen.

Posted by Rick on 7 March 2014 at 12:34

They may try again but they will never win as the dump wont be built here,disgusting that they can keep changing the goalposts until they get the result they want but even if they wrangle the right to look at it again the geology is not right and never will be , but by all means feel free to waste your money trying.

Posted by Kaiser Soze on 7 March 2014 at 09:04

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