Consultation on Geological Disposal Facility in Cumbria


The government search for a site to build a geological disposal facility (GDF) for high and intermediate level waste was brought to a halt in January when Cumbria County Council voted not to proceed to the next stage of the process.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) have now opened a consultation (deadline 19th Dec) to restart the procedure.

They propose excluding the County Council and the Parish Councils (who were overwhelmingly against) from the main process, reducing them to consultees, with the Borough Councils alone having the right to “volunteer” to search for a site in their area. As the only area under consideration was West Cumbria, and both Allerdale BC & Copeland BC voted to go forward, this appears to be blatant gerrymandering.

GDF is contrary to Green Party policy, but even if it was an acceptable means of dealing with waste, the lessons learned from the previous process have been ignored, namely that suitable geology should first be identified, and volunteer communities sought from those areas rather than volunteers being sought first from possibly unsuitable areas. This is the way other countries looking for a GDF have proceeded.

No strategic environmental assessment (SEA) to evaluate alternatives, including the Green Party’s option of surface storage & monitoring, has been carried out.

It would be helpful if as many as possible responded here particularly stating the need for a SEA and objecting to the undemocratic exclusion of County & Parish Councils.

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