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West Cumbria plea against Lake District being targetted for nuclear waste

Cumbria Trust 14th April 2018, The following letter from Tim Knowles, the former Chair of the last search
process (MRWS), appears in the current issue of The Whitehaven News.

Despite previously appearing to be in direct opposition to Cumbria
Trust’s stance, there now seems to be a lot of common ground between us.
Tim appears to share our scepticism that the new search process is a
national one, when the real target is expected to be West Cumbria again.

Not one single local authority of the UK beyond West Cumbria volunteered
during MRWS, and despite hints from RWM and BEIS that there are a number of
interested parties, we would be surprised if they are more than wishful
thinking.

Tim also makes the point that the funds being offered to the
community for taking part in the process are low by international
standards. As Eddie Martin, the former Leader of Cumbria County Council has
frequently pointed out, we only have to look at the state of West Cumbria,
with its Victorian railway system, poor roads and inadequate hospital and
education facilities to see how much to believe promises of community
benefits.

This area has been exposed to a great deal of risk from housing
the nation’s nuclear waste for two generations and has received almost
nothing in return. Why should we believe that it would be different this
time?

It is interesting to hear that that Tim understands that Trudy
Harrison MP, Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie and DBEIS Minister Richard
Harrington have been discussing an offshore Copeland site, presumably with
tunnel access from Sellafield. In the new search process, the offshore
strip available has been extended from 5km to 20km, and this is potentially
very significant, since it is likely to include areas far enough from the
Cumbrian mountains to have relatively low groundwater flow.

Cumbria Trust discussed the potential of offshore Copeland here and while we have had
expert advice that West Cumbria does not contain an adequate onshore site,
we accept that it is possible that a good site may be found further
offshore. If Copeland is going to volunteer itself again, we would
encourage them to volunteer offshore Copeland alone.

We hope and expect that they have enough common sense to exclude the Lake District National
Park from day one. It employs far more people than the nuclear industry, it
generates more income for Cumbria and it is a World Heritage Site. The
coastal strip outside the park is geologically similar to the failed
Longlands Farm Nirex site, so that only leaves offshore Copeland.

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April 16, 2018 - Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK

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