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Coal and Nuclear - perfect storm conditions for a Nuclear Sacrifice Zone

Bransty Tunnel through which hundreds of nuclear waste flasks have travelled the 1km tunnel beneath Whitehaven Town Centre since December when old mine water from unknown sources (old mines ) began noticeably flooding the area into Queens Dock, Whitehaven.

The following is correspondence with Tim Farron MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale regarding the ongoing corruption of governance re. the planned coal mine, old coal mines, the Bransty Tunnel and the continued arrival of nuclear waste at Sellafield via a minewater compromised rail tunnel under Whitehaven.

Tim Farron MP has agreed to continue to press Government on this.

21st September 2023

Dear Tim,

Thank you very much for the letter from Baroness Scott which as you say is sheer obfuscation. The refusal of the Foreign Office to reply to the questions raised about the links to Russia through West Cumbria Mining’s original funder and now Director Owen Hegarty is shocking. To reiterate: Owen Hegarty funded the original £millions for WCM through EMR Captial. Owen Hegarty’s other coal mine in Siberia is in reciept of £Millions both by the Russian State and by Russian equity bank Baring Vostok whose investors have just left prison in Russia after fraud sentences.

I would like to re-ask the question of the Foreign Office: Given the UK Government’s current war footing with Russia why hasn’t the Foreign Office stepped in to investigate West Cumbria Mining’s clear links with Russian State investment through its Director Owen Hegarty?

The millions of pounds that have funded WCM’s borehole drillings and PR are largely unaccounted for hidden away as they are in Cayman Islands accounts. It is no stretch of the imagination to say that the money to fund WCM could well have come from the Russian state in its ‘aid’ to Tigers Realm Coal.

The Russian links become even more incredible given that the CEO of WCM is advising the UK Government on the UK nuclear dump plans in his key role at the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. The war-footing with Russia is untenable given these links.

The nuclear waste upon which the CEO of West Cumbria Mining is advising continues to arrive at Sellafield almost daily. The nuclear waste from Scotland travels 1km UNDER the town of Whitehaven though the Bransty Tunnel from Whitehaven to Corickle. This tunnel is now of concern to Network Rail as it is being undermined by reactivated coal mine workings which are flooding the area with toxic minewater full of acid and metals. West Cumbria Mining have carried out investigative work for their planned new coal mine in the area above Whitehaven with investigative boreholes drilling down to below sea level. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that their invasive borehole drilling and flushing of the boreholes with massive amounts of water for days at a time has had a disastrous impact on the honeycomb of old coal mine workings along the West Coast.

A Freedom of Information request answer received today from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority indicates that hundreds of transports of nuclear waste flasks have been carried through the Bransty Tunnel since the toxic mine leakage fully started to discharge in December (which as the Baroness helpfully points out in her letter is when WCM’s coal mine was approved by Government). The neglect of Whitehaven’s public safety with regards the nuclear waste flasks (or indeed any trains) going through the impacted Bransty Tunnel is astonishing not to mention the acid and metal (and radon etc) pollution discharging out to the supposed Highly Protected Marine Area of the Irish Sea and the Solway.

As well as urging the Foreign Office to investigate Owen Hegarty’s financial dealings with the Russian State we would urge an immediate halt to the transport of nuclear wastes under Whitehaven town centre through the Bransty Tunnel.

With many thanks for your continued quest for action on this


FOI RESPONSE recieved today from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority


Dear Marianne

See below response to your enquiry.

Please note – we cannot provide definitive figures from our systems to answer your specific query. To be able to provide any figures in response to your query we have assumed all services to/from Sellafield ran via the Northern rail route (so some of the total below may not have actually travelled via Whitehaven). We have excluded services that did not have any flask traffic. These figures are therefore only indicative of the transport numbers that may have travelled via the Whitehaven tunnel.

TOTAL FIGURES 1^st December 2022 – 8^th September 2023 Number of Services Ran 179 Number of Flasks (Discharged) 257 Number of Flasks (Loaded) 241

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been handled, you can request the NDA carry out an internal review, in the first instance contact [1

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF


[3]NDA_final_logo_Black small

Judith Griffin

Information Access Manager

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

——- Original Message ——- On Monday, August 21st, 2023 at 10:33, Tim Farron wrote:

Dear Marianne Please find attached the response from the Minister for Faith and Communities to the letter that I wrote to the Foreign Secretary on your behalf with regard to your letter against the mine in West Cumbria. I am afraid that you are the victim of total obfuscation but I suspect that this will come as no surprise. Do let me know, if you would like me to write again to the Foreign Office to demand a straight answer. With best wishes Yours sincerely TIM FARRON MP

The Original Letter to Michael Gove MP can be seen here

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