N-waste opinion poll criticised
Last updated at 11:47, Thursday, 21 June 2012
THE opinion poll into West Cumbrian people’s views on a search for somewhere to bury highly radioactive nuclear waste has been dismissed by a university think tank.
The random poll was carried out on behalf of the government-funded West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership (MRWS).
But it reveals ‘fatal flaws,’ according to the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences.
The group claims that MRWS has an “institutional wish to proceed and push forward – and its lack of criteria to identify when enough information has been collected to produce a decision not to proceed.”
It goes on to say: “The results of consultation, of telephone polling and of unilateral parish council votes, all give a very unclear mandate to support continuation.”
The MRWS Partnership has rejected the claims. Chairman Tim Knowles said: “The opinion survey shows only eight per cent of adults in Copeland, and 11 per cent in Allerdale, saying they had never heard about this process. We can provide opportunities for people to get information but ultimately it is for members of the public to decide how much they want to learn about a particular issue.”
The Ipsos MORI poll covered more than 3,000 Cumbrian adults. In Copeland 68 per cent were in favour of taking part in a site search and 51 per cent in Allerdale.
But the university researchers claim: “MRWS have not represented this fairly and have cherry picked the two pieces of information most favourable to their preferred course. No impartial analysis has been presented to expose the multiple inconstancies and flaws in the MRWS polling.
“The only clear message is that most of the West Cumbria public remain ignorant of radioactive waste disposal.”
The researchers contend that a simplistic figure has been used to “disguise the lack of public engagement or knowledge... it is very striking that fully 80 per cent of those replying stated that they have never heard of it, have no knowledge or very little knowledge or radioactive waste disposal
“The telephone poll reveals fatal flaws in the MRWS process showing that MRWS has failed to engage with and inform the local resident communities to any significant level.
“There is no basis to use these poll results to support continued engagement.
“By comparison the results of parish council votes across all of West Cumbria show that 75 per cent of parishes voting have rejected any further continuation. The decision by the Cumbria Association of Local Councils is not to proceed any further due to lack of trust in the MRWS process and lack of any firm arrangements or commitments by central government. Both these decisions have a democratic mandate which is much more compelling, and are recommending termination of engagement and withdrawal.”
Coun Knowles responded: “Ipsos MORI said that the awareness levels shown in the survey are high compared to other consultations they’ve been involved in. In a democracy people are not precluded from having a view about any issue on the basis of how much they know. However, the Partnership has listened to the views of geologists and if this process continues the detailed work to test the area would be carried out by experts. If the geology is not suitable for a repository local people will not support it.”
First published at 11:12, Thursday, 21 June 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
There seems to be some ignorance as to what an opinion poll is. The likes of IPSOS MORI are perfeectly capable of putting together a struictured sample that gives a representative result - far more so than a few parish councillors, many of whom got on unopposed, i.e. representing only themselves.
Regardless of consultation the Repository will be built near Sellafield.What should be of concern is the eventual multiple the final cost will be over that projected relative to the level given for approval. It already has a 100% contingency admitted, but is unlikely to be enough.Every project related to Sellafield has cost multiples over the original estimates.
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