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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

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Opposing factions rattle sabres ahead of crucial nuclear vote

IT could take a public vote to decide whether West Cumbria will eventually be the home for a £12 billion nuclear waste repository.

Copeland Council would be a key local authority decision maker in the event of investigations taking place to find somewhere in the area safe enough to bury highly radioactive nuclear waste.

Next Wednesday Cumbria County Council cabinet, Copeland and Allerdale borough executives will decide whether to start a site search for burying nuclear waste in West Cumbria.

Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn told The Whitehaven News: “I’ve always said a referendum would need to be held at some point but it’s got to be held with all the information – and there isn’t the information there yet.”

She added: “In any case we don’t know what will happen until January 30 when the three councils have to decide whether to go to the next stage of the process – desk top geological investigations.

“If we do continue I think a referendum will be held but you want people to make an informed tick in the box. It could be 10-15 years down the line.”

Asked whether it would be a West Cumbria-wide referendum, Coun Woodburn said: “My priority is Copeland.”

Ennerdale’s own community referendum last week resulted in a 73 per cent postal ballot response showing a 94 per cent vote against “hosting a nuclear facility in Ennerdale.”

Some 193 out of 267 householders returned ballot papers. Only 10 Ennerdale residents were in favour.

Ennerdale will now “host” a high-profile protest march this Saturday.

Marchers will be carrying banners walking the route from Bowness Knott to the River Liza delta showing areas which they believe could be used if Ennerdale was ever considered for a repository.

Weather permitting a light aircraft has been arranged by an Ennerdale resident to take aerial photographs and a London-based TV crew will be filming.

The ‘No Ennerdale Nuclear Dump’ campaigners say: “No one in their right minds would ever have thought the Lake District National Park and Ennerdale would ever come under consideration for any form of industrial development of this nature.”

The campaign has also handed Copeland Council an 11,552 on-line petition said to represent “national outrage towards the proposal to investigate the siting of a geological disposal facility for nuclear waste in West Cumbria and in particular within the national park”.

Roger Parker, of the No Ennerdale Nuclear Dump campaign, said: “It is understood no site has yet been identified. However considering that over 70 per cent of the area of West Cumbria that has not already been excluded is within the confines of the National Park. It is therefore reasonable to expect that the search for a suitable location will include land within the National Park because to date it has not been excluded.

“We started this petition as we believe Copeland Borough Council, Allerdale and Cumbria County Council failed in their duty under English law by failing to exclude the National Park when they issued the ‘expression of interest’ to the government for the opportunity to consider hosting a geological disposal facility

Said Mr Parker: “We believe there will be considerably more signatories to the petition by January 30 and in order to ensure councillors will be completely up to date and not embarrassed by inadequate information, we will update members of the Executive immediately before the meeting with numbers.

“We will also endeavour to ensure they are informed of a breakdown of signatories by postcode. It is our intention to ask a question at the meeting and provide the question, the name of the individual asking it and all relevant details within the timescale as required.

“We wished to counter the allegations of scaremongering and nimbyism and show that there is a grave national concern about siting or even exploring the possibility of siting an industrial complex within or under the Lake District National Park. This is not purely a parochial West Cumbrian issue. When making the decision the executives need to understand that this is national issue.”

Radiation Free Lakeland has sent a 1,200 signature petition to Prince Charles urging him to ‘please, please meddle’ adding: “if ever there was an issue that needed meddling in this is it”.

The letter from Marianne Birkby reads: “People love the Lake District and know that your affection for this Land of the Lakes run deep. As Lakelanders we feel the same and that is why in 2008 we set up a voluntary non-funded non-political group to protect the Lake District from nuclear developments: Radiation Free Lakeland.”

Focus this Saturday will also be on a nuclear waste disposal debate taking part in Carlisle.

It’s organised by the Sellafield Workers’ Campaign and TUSNE – trade unionists for safe nuclear energy – who are calling for a ‘yes’ vote next Wednesday.

Among the speakers are Copeland MP Jamie Reed and NDA chief executive John Clarke who will call for more evidence – and less emotion.

The seminar is in the Hallmark Hotel, Court Square, Carlisle, by invitation.

An anti-dump twitter account has recorded more than 1,600 followers, go to https://twitter.com/lakesnukepit

Have your say

People of Cumbria; sometimes lighthearted comments are made to this paper, somethimes poingnent comments are made, comments of all types and kinds about issues that are important to you, the individual, to us, the community.
High Active Waste Repository. What does that mean to you? Be honest, be truthful with yourself. Do you understand what it means, what the implications are?
Do you know what High Active Nuclear Waste is?
Certain nucleides have a half life of a quarter of a million years. What does that mean? The 'strength' of the nucleide, Plutonium for example (which attacks human blood, human bone, human organs) will decrease by half of its original strength after a quarter of a millions years. This is what the so-called 'informed', wish to bury under our soil. Do you wish for your childrens children, their childrens childrens children, etc et al, to be faced with?
The geology of Cumbria is not suited for a repository (as evidenced by Nirex all those years ago) for low level waste, so, Heaven forbid, why even comtempate a High Active Waste Repository?
Your descentants, my descentants, all our descentants. Our childrens children.
From my heart, I beg you, do not go along with what some people wish to do. A very short term economic so-called 'fix' that will have lasting reprecusions for thousands of years.
Look at your children, you people who are reading this, look at your children and think: do you want your descendants to suffer because the council, seemingly all those years ago, were trying to extricate themselves from the economic demise of this area brought about through their own mismanagement?
Please make your feelings known. This is too big of an issue to be left to a council who have consistently let the people, who they are supposedly here to represent, down in so many failed ventures, to our expense.
Please, do not let this happen.
I respectfully submit this to you for your consideration.

Posted by Observer on 29 January 2013 at 18:44

Just check out information on South Carolina and Virginia if you want to see where West Cumbria is heading,if it isn't there already.

Nuclear up to the eyeballs but still a poor backwater of America living with everyones waste dumped on their doorstep.

Copeland now has a Nuclear Energy and Planning Department and this tells you everything you need to know about the decision making. This is a decision that will affect the area for millions of years, is it really worth it to create 500 jobs?

Posted by Jean on 28 January 2013 at 21:41

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