Consultation on Geological Disposal Facility in Cumbria

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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.

The Green Party Policy on Energy Prices

Over 1.5 million children are growing up in cold homes. Illness relating to fuel poverty costs the NHS over £1 billion every year, and we have a higher number of people struggling to pay their energy bills than every European country other than Estonia. Meanwhile, the profits of the Big Six energy companies doubled between 2008 and 2010.

For the past two years, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, has been a vocal supporter of the Big Six Energy Fix campaign, which is calling for a price cap and a public inquiry into the large energy companies.

We welcome the current party political and public debate about soaring fuel bills, and the structure of the UK energy market. Energy efficiency and transition to renewables should be central to the Government’s plans for the whole economy. The following paper sets out the Party’s vision for a low-carbon, affordable energy future, and summarises our position on the key policies announced by Labour and the Conservatives.

The Green Party’s vision for a low carbon, affordable energy future

We believe it is a scandal that the big energy companies are increasing bills and making large profits when many people are struggling with high bills and cold homes, and welcome the growing support for this view, sadly, by focussing on headline grabbing schemes, both main parties are sidelining meaningful solutions to the energy bill crisis:

Super Energy Efficiency

The only permanent solution to the energy bill crisis is to make all homes much more energy efficient – easy and cheap to heat so they become fuel poverty-proof. Doing so would also create hundreds of thousands of much needed jobs. Continue reading