The UKs nuclear dump plans are now centred upon the theme of a 'local dump for local people' with those living further afield from the nuclear dump 'partnership' areas but who would still be impacted erased from having any say in the 'conversation with local people'.
This ghettoisation of the nuclear dump 'process' does not however extend to the bright eyed and bushy tailed communications teams gathering "public opinion" into specially designed spreadsheets in some office in Wales. So much for a local nuclear dump for local people. In the three search areas the local people are being bribed to the tune of £Millions with nuclear largesse courtesy of the UK taxpayer. The wider UK even in neighbouring towns and villages have no genuine say whatsoever in this skewed "Partnership" process for a deep and very hot nuclear dump under the seabed the digging of which is being advised by the coal boss Mark Kirkbride. All that stands between the plans for proceeding with a massive and deep hot nuclear dump under the Irish Sea or, far less likely, the Lincolnshire coast is a vague "test of public support" for the immediate locality (you know - the locals who are being bribed with money for everything you can think of). What a stitch up!
The following is a media release from the Nuclear Free Local Authorities who have been doing some digging of their own -
NFLA media release, 20 June 2023, For immediate use
Lost the plot: Nuclear Waste Services directs dump queries to South Wales
The UK/Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities are keen to find out why questions and enquiries relating to the possibility of a nuclear waste dump in three of the search areas in West Cumbria and East Lincolnshire are directed to an obscure Post Office box number in Swansea.
Anyone wishing to question in writing any aspect of the development proposals to locate a Geological Disposal Facility for Britain’s High Level nuclear waste in Allerdale, South Copeland, or Theddlethorpe, is asked to mail their query to GDF Enquiries, PO Box 734, Swansea SA1 9RP where the correspondence team appear to be located.
It is unclear, but assumed, that enquiries also directed via the contact information sheet or the email addresses listed on the three GDF Community Partnerships websites are also dealt with by this same NWS Contact Management Team.
The AA Route Planner website records Swansea as being 277 miles away from Theddlethorpe and a whopping 338 miles away from Allerdale.
Councillor David Blackburn, NFLA English Forum Chair is a little perplexed: “When referencing plans to locate a GDF in either Cumbria or Lincolnshire, senior staff in Nuclear Waste Services talk a lot about how the project will create local jobs, but in this case the employment opportunities appear to have materialised in an office block in South Wales.
“NWS also stresses the importance of taking on board local feelings and local knowledge in developing plans for a nuclear waste dump, but it is unclear how in touch and how knowledgeable staff based in Wales’s second city will be about the situation prevailing hundreds of miles away in rural West Cumbria or East Lincolnshire.”
As with much associated with the search for a dump, the approach of the four Community Partnerships is also here inconsistent as residents in the Mid-Copeland search area do at least have the small consolation that their enquiries are dealt with from a Seascale office.
Councillor Blackburn adds: “If Mid-Copeland can do it, why can’t the three others? Surely, enquiries relating to Allerdale and South Copeland could also in future be dealt with by the same Seascale team that deals with those originating from the electors of Mid-Copeland. This is at least in Cumbria, and a new team could be formed for East Lincolnshire”.
The NFLA is concerned that many of the enquiries fielded by the central correspondence teams are also not brought to the attention of members of the local Community Partnerships.
A recent Freedom of Information Act request revealed that, in the 18 months to April 2023, 92 questions submitted in connection with the South Copeland GDF search areas went to the central office for comment rather than being seen and responded to by the Community Partnership.
Councillor Blackburn concluded: “Many people in Cumbria and Lincolnshire have genuine and serious concerns about the implications to them, their family, and their community if a Geological Disposal Facility is built in their area. They will have sent in their questions, thoughts, and fears believing that local people with some understanding of their situation, including members of their local Community Partnership, would see them and respond.
“I think NWS has scored a real own goal here. They have undermined their claims to localism, openness and accountability by first farming off questions to an office a world away from the affected areas and then failing to bring them before the local Community Partnership for consideration so the members of that Partnership to have input into the response.
“Unfortunately, not only does this come across as insensitive to the feelings of local people, but it appears to be a little contemptuous of the members of the local Community Partnerships who have not been trusted with the information.”