MP hits out as nuclear waste plan faces ‘no’ vote
Last updated at 11:21, Thursday, 13 September 2012
COPELAND MP Jamie Reed says Cumbria County Council’s powerful Cabinet will say ‘no’ to a search for a site to bury highly radioactive nuclear waste.
The Cabinet, and Executive councillors of Copeland and Allerdale, will all meet separately to make the decision on October 11. They will be asked whether areas of West Cumbria should be investigated to try to find a suitable site for disposing of the waste deep underground.
But yesterday Mr Reed dropped a political bombshell by saying he had been told on good authority that the county council’s Tory-dominated coalition Cabinet is to give it the thumbs down.
The county council said yesterday that a decision would not be made either for or against until October 11.
It is understood that even if Copeland and Allerdale vote in favour, a site investigation cannot go ahead without the county Cabinet’s approval.
Mr Reed said West Cumbria would face potentially disastrous economic consequences if an investigation fails to get the green light. He has reacted angrily by launching a campaign urging councillors to vote ‘yes’ so the area’s suitability can be investigated without any commitment.
The campaign already has the support of the nuclear trades unions and will also involve local businesses.
The MP told The Whitehaven News: “The campaign is launched as the Cabinet of Cumbria County Council appears set to vote against continuing with the investigations.
“Local authorities are being asked to continue with a site selection process, not to accept a repository without question. A ‘yes’ vote puts us on the right path to determine whether our area is suitable; a ‘no’ vote would be catastrophic for the hopes of West Cumbria and the delivery of our nuclear renaissance.
“Voting ‘yes’ at this stage commits us to nothing; voting ‘no’ deals a devastating blow to the nuclear industry and our future economic prospects.
“As matters stand, Cumbria County Council is set to vote against continued investigations. The consequences of this will be profound for West Cumbria and the nuclear industry. The best interests of the people of West Cumbria will not be served by a vote against further investigations and it is imperative that the county council listens to the people, businesses and workers of West Cumbria and makes the correct decision.”
Craig Dobson, Sellafield Workers Campaign secretary, said: “We have consistently worked to help achieve a nuclear renaissance in West Cumbria and the country as a whole and we will continue to do this. A coherent, credible nuclear policy must have a final waste disposal policy. Any move to thwart, block or delay this will have a serious and negative effect upon the British nuclear industry and our hopes for the future.
“We will continue to lobby local politicians and government ministers as part of our campaign to secure our economic future. Our future hangs in the balance and it is absolutely essential that, on October 11, local government votes ‘yes’ to continue with the geological investigation process. The consequences of a ‘no’ vote would be disastrous.”
Formally the county council did not wish to respond but Tim Knowles, the Labour councillor who has special Cabinet responsibility for the environment, pointed out: “A paper in my name will go to Cabinet for the October 11 meeting. We have spent a lot of time consulting people in Cumbria and West Cumbria and all county council members had the opportunity (last week’s meeting) to express their views. All of these are being taken into consideration and as we speak the paper is being written which will advise the Cabinet in relation to making a decision as to whether or not to participate in a siting process.. That decision will be taken in public on October 11 by the Cabinet which consists of Conservative, Labour and Independent members. I can’t predict what the outcome will be but I have a responsibility to present a clear and balanced view of all the options and opinions.”
Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn recently succeeded Mr Knowles as chairman of the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Safely Partnership. She heads Copeland’s Executive which will make its own decision.
“We can’t come out at this point and say whether we will be for or against it. We have exactly the same information as the county council and we will make the decision in the best interests of the people of Copeland,” she said.
The 10-strong county Cabinet comprises six Tory members, three Labour and one Independent.
First published at 11:11, Thursday, 13 September 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
How much more money must we waste on nuclear, digging a big hole and burying it is real stupidity, and we now want to produce more waste to make matters worse. The nuclear industries epitaph will be:Never in any field of engineering has so much been spent by so few to achieve so little"
Wasn't the geology found to be severly lacking during the NIREX enquiry?
Perhaps its changed a lot in the last 20 or so years
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