Haverigg, part of the proposed site of the South Copeland GDF. Photo from GDF Community Partnership Newsletter, Spring 2022.

Copeland video publicising Millom and Haverigg.

Giant’s Grave, Kirksanton

The proposed site could cover parts of both Haverigg and Kirksanton. This whole area is not only knock-out dead gorgeous but is steeped in Prehistory: Ancient Millom. How can anyone begin to think about putting a GDF here?

“Our policy for identifying a suitable location for a GDF [Geological Disposal Facility, aka nuclear dump] is consent-based. It requires both a community willing to host a GDF and suitable geology. The process to find a site is underway and there is growing interest in constructing a GDF under the seabed. We want to be absolutely clear that the ONR has the power to regulate a nuclear site, including a GDF, that is constructed under the seabed, should a community decide they want to pursue that option.” Energy Security Bill Factsheet Licensing of Geological Disposal Facility Beneath the Seabed, July 2022 – Energy Security Bill Factsheet

Until there is a referendum we will not know how many people in Millom and Haverigg and Kirksanton are for the GDF or against it. There was a poll on millom.co.uk which found out of 151 respondents,100 were opposed to it and 40 for it. If that were replicated in a referendum then clearly there are more folk against it. As there is unlikely to be a referendum until much later in the process (assuming it continues) we can only say we know for sure of 485 folk against it (members of our Millom and District Against the Nuclear Dump and others who have posted on Facebook against it. Most of these are local). When our leaflets were delivered there were only positive responses, most people were unaware about the GDF. So on the basis of this there does not appear to be a willing community – but we could be wrong!



1. We have a problem with the nuclear waste that has accumulated over the past 70 years; much is stored at Drigg (low level) and Sellafield (high level) as well as at least twenty sites across the UK. You can find out more about the history by visiting The UK’s Nuclear History on the government website where this diagram is from:

Source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-uks-nuclear-history

2. Government wants to build more nuclear power stations but the law says before they can do this there has to be a safe way to dispose of nuclear waste.

3. Government have charged the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) with the mission to clean-up the UK’s earliest nuclear sites safely, securely and cost effectively.

4. The Nuclear Waste Services (NWA) brings together the UK’s leading nuclear waste management capabilities and are part of the NDA.

5. Government believe the best way to deal with nuclear waste is to put it underground in a Geological Disposal Facility. Other countries across the globe are also in favour of this method but the UK are the only country looking at siting it under the sea.

6. Government put out a call to individuals, groups, companies, and local authorities to recommend potential sites for the GDF; in England, only four came forward.

South Copeland GDF Community Partnership Newsletter – Spring 2022

Actually there was a fifth in Hartlepool, but it was defeated because of strong political opposition: unfortunately, the opposite is the case here, i.e., there is strong political support.

Cumbria Council also threw out the GDF and refused to join the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership. Cumbria Council have consistently opposed the GDF being sited here.

7. Radioactive Waste Management (yet another government body) set out its approach to evaluating proposed sites for a GDF. There are six factors to be taken into consideration: Safety and Security; Community; Environment; Engineering feasibility; Transport; and Value for Money.


8. Initially Ghyll Scaur quarry was suggested as a site (resulting in house sales being lost) but this was thrown out as it is in the proposed extension of the Lake District National Park which is exempt.

9. David Faulkner, ex Sellafield manager, proposed South Copeland to be considered for the site. N.B. this could NOT include the Lake District National Park or the proposed extension which is exempt. He proposed the area first as an individual, as a Bootle Parish Councillor and as a member of the South Copeland Partnership. Other interested parties included Copeland Council, who seem to have begun discussions about a GDR as early as 2012; Irton Hall Ltd and Genr8 North Ltd. How bizarre that a B&B in Eskdale (Irton Hall) and a company providing accommodation for students in Carlisle (Genr8 North) but based in Dalton should be interested in siting a GDF in Haverigg/Kirksanton! Local MP Trudy Harrison backed the proposal.

10. The next step was for Radioactive Waste Management to set up the Copeland GDF Working Group. A presentation by Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) Working Group about the GDF was given to South Copeland Partnership (SCP) on 10th December 2020. Representatives from Millom Town Council, Millom Without Parish Council and Whicham Parish Council were in attendance. A discussion followed about who to appoint as an SCP representative on the RWM Working Group. The following is a quote from Millom Without’s website:

The issue of a potential conflict of interests was raised.  If for example a councillor was nominated, where did ultimate loyalty rest, with the council or the community.  Caution was also expressed regarding how the matter is presented to the community and the public at large, as raised in the Q&A.  If the process is set in motion it could compromise other business projects.  The issue of “blight” in general.  House prices could come down, investment in tourism and the attraction to tourists could decrease, etc, then the GDF project might not come off at the end of the process.  Agreed: a representative from the SCP should be put forward to the RWM regarding the GDF project.  This is to ensure the South Copeland voice is heard in this key process.

The Copeland Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) Working Group was formed on 17th December 2020.

11. One of the key tasks of the Working Group was to draw up a Community Partnership Agreement; it seems it took many months for the Working Group to agree this. The Community Partnership Agreement sets out the principles of how the members of the Community Partnership would work together,their roles and responsibilities.

We have asked for a copy of the Agreement but meanwhile all we can go on to understand their role is the Community Guidance.

12. The next stage was to form the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership, this came into effect in December 2021.  To set up the Partnership the Agreement needed to be signed by the individual Partnership members. Once the Community Partnership Agreement was signed, Community Investment Funding of up to £1 million per year would be available for projects, schemes and initiatives in the Search Area.

The Community Partnership has an initial membership of Copeland Borough Council, the GDF developer (Nuclear Waste Services), Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) and local councillors from Millom Town, Millom Without and Whicham. 

No doubt because this looked a bit like bribery, i.e. Millom, Millom Without and Whicham having to be members of the Partnership in order to access the funding, NWS have since gone back on this and said they need not be members of the Partnership in order to access the funding. So lie number one (or misunderstanding).

It is also worth noting that at the top of the personal qualities required of members who join the Community Partnership (at least this is the case in Lincolnshire so one assumes it is also the case in South Copeland) this is stated:

Commitment to exploring the possibility of the development of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) in the identified Search Area, according to the requirements of the WWC Policy.

NWS told Guardians of the East Coast that an application to join the Partnership would not be welcome. GOTEC point out, “It [the statement] also tells us that all the other members of the said partnership would have to be against us in order to be appointed.” The same would, no doubt, apply to Millom and District Against the Nuclear Dump and would stop the local authorities publicising our activities or indeed anything against a GDF. Talk about selling your soul to the devil!

13. It is worth looking at this video entitled “Working Together” put up by Nuclear Waste Services in 2020.  It is an animated video which stresses a partnership approach stating it is the first community consent-based process to be undertaken in England and Wales for a project of this size. 

“This process means we will work with the local community as part of an agreed vision for the future. We won’t build a GDF without the consent of a community.”  The video then explains the process and says “the Community Partnership will be made up of a wide and diverse cross-section of local people, RWM and at least one relevant principal local authority. It will receive one million pounds per year rising to up to 2.5 million pounds if it progresses to bore hole investigations.  Communities will be at the heart of a siting process and of any decision-making.  We will work with your community at a pace that reflects your needs and preferences.  A community can withdraw from the siting process at any time up until it has taken a test of public support.  We will take into consideration social, economic, political and environmental interests and the diversity of the area. Information will be shared and gathered through the Community Partnership with funding of one million pounds annually.  Funding will rise to 2.5 million annually for those communities that progress to the point of deep bore hole investigations which will be needed to assess the potential suitability of a site.  A GDF can only be developed if the geology is suitable and the community is willing to host it.  Safety, security and protection of people and the environment are paramount.  Put simply, if it can’t be shown to be safe, it can’t be built.  Remember, the community will have the final say in a test of public support, which could be via a referendum, poll or other mechanism to measure local support for the hosting of a GDF.”  The video concludes with a written message:  “We welcome your involvement.  You can join in the discussions in confidence, and without this implying your support for geological disposal.”  

14. The Partnership has been running now (July 2022) for over six months, when are the wide and diverse cross-section of local people going to be invited?  And how will they be chosen?  Membership at the moment appears to consist of NWS and local councillors. 

15. NWS were contacted to find out if, for example, Millom Town Council could withdraw from the siting process.  They could withdraw but the process in our area would continue. Only NWS and the lead local authority, i.e. Copeland, can withdraw and stop the process up until the ‘test of public support.’  So that is lie number two (or misinformation) that the community can withdraw at any time.  And with regard to the ‘test of public support’, it is the Community Partnership who will decide whether to use it and what method will be used! 

16. NWS say they will take into consideration environmental issues.  Really?  Without public consultation they are conducting seismic surveys in the sea off our area.  There is evidence these surveys harm marine life. See below, Seismic Surveys.  So lie (or misinformation) number three.

17. Much of the area around Haverigg contains SSSI (sites of special scientific interest – a formal conservation designation) is this going to be taken into consideration?

18. So far the community has been anything but at the heart of the siting process and of decision-making.  The community, so far, has NOT been consulted on anything! So lie (or misinformation) number four. Unless the Community Partnership is ‘the community’?

19. Four information events were held in Millom and Haverigg in June 2022 at which about 200 people attended (many of these were members of our group to state their opposition).  We were told to ‘come and meet the experts’ but some of our members knew more about the nuclear industry than them and many of our questions could not be answered.  So lie (or misinformation) number five. A colouring booklet, Colour with GDF Heroes, with crayons, was available at these events for children to colour.  What do you think?  By the way, Radiation Free Lakeland asked if some of their flyers could be available at the events – you can guess the answer … “NO!”

20. The public are being bombarded with information in all sorts of forms, not least videos. Nuclear Waste Services have been producing slick videos since 2018. And not to mention all of the organisations that are receiving funding being used for publicity.

21. Radioactive Waste Management we are not quite sure if it was these or Nuclear Waste Services or one of the other organisations involved, set up the website Working in Partnership in 2022 to move the process forward.  It is a slick website where you can find information about the four areas which have been proposed to site the GDF, including South Copeland, with links to further information and, of course, videos.  Gosh, the amount of money already spent on this process must be phenomenal.  Images of happy families and happy, smiling, people provide links to a whole series of videos telling the public all the positive reasons there should be a GDF.  Note the use of women in the videos and other publicity.  Can you find any opposing views?  How it might blight the area and house prices fall?  How it will likely harm tourism?

22. Working in Partnership provides a link to South Copeland GDF Community Partnership where we are introduced to the chair of the partnership, Councillor Ged McGrath (Millom Town Councillor and Copeland Councillor), more information about a GDF, siting, basically everything you need to know including how to access the funding package – of course, this is all from the perspective of the developers, Nuclear Waste Services.  It includes information about the four events held in Millom and Haverigg and their Newsletter which tells you who is on the Partnership.

23. Assuming Security; Environment; Engineering feasibility; Transport; and Value for Money, can be satisfactorily met, to move forward two other factors need to be in place: it needs to be geologically safe and there needs to be a willing community.


24. In order to find out if the land under the sea would be appropriate there first needs to be a geophysical (seismic) survey of the whole area.  They have told us that environmental interests will be taken on board.  Well, Nuclear Waste Services have begun a whole series of seismic surveys covering 250 square kilometres.  These consist of towed devices which use compressed air to produce high-energy pulses of low-frequency sound waves.  Every ten seconds a sound blast will be emitted, twenty-four hours a day for 17 days.  These travel through the water, can penetrate more than 6,000 metres into rock layers below the seafloor and can reveal if the surface beneath the sea is suitable for a GDF.  This technology has been used by oil and gas companies (and wind farm construction) for years, but it is only recently that the actual damage they cause marine life is becoming apparent.  

25. Noise from the blasts extends to thousands of kilometres, especially in deeper water, and affects a wide range of marine life – from zooplankton (a crucial marine food source), to fish and marine mammals such as porpoises, whales and dolphins.  The blasting causes stress, can damage hearing and health and impair their ability to navigate, find food, communicate, breed and migrate.  The dangers to marine life are gradually becoming known and talked about, such as in this article in Environment Journal.

26. The area being surveyed is a protected Marine Conservation Zone (from Walney Island to St Bees) and a special licence is needed.  However, Nuclear Waste Services claimed exemption from the Marine Management Organisation to circumvent the usual stringent processes, citing they are conducting scientific research. So lie or misinformation number six. The decision by MMO to grant the licence was too short notice for a judicial review to take place! Manipulating the system or what?  

27. Radiation Free Lakeland commissioned an independent expert to assess Nuclear Waste Services plans to conduct these surveys. The in-depth report identifies deficiencies in their proposals and the lack of current research about the impact of seismic surveys on many marine species found in this area.   

28. Despite this knowledge the surveys are happening again, no consultation with the community! These surveys have been banned in other parts of the world, in New Zealand, America, South Africa.  It is worth noting only one news media has been critical, The Guardian on-line; otherwise there has been silence apart from all the local media who are simply giving the Developer’s position.

29. Here is a very moving re-writing of John Lennon’s song Imagine. It is about Shell conducting seismic surveys but the effects of the ones here off the Cumbian Coast are likely to be the same. So all you that have colluded with this…well done!

30. It will take approximately nine months to analyse the findings once the survey is complete. If their findings suggest a possible site, the next step would be to drill lots of bore holes – through radioactive mud: what effect is that likely to have? Cumbria, Nuclear Waste, a GDF under the Irish Sea tells us this is likely to provoke the re-suspension of heavily radioactively contaminated sea-bed sediments of the Cumbrian Mud Patch and surrounding sea-bed areas. There is the possibility of sea-bed subsidence which could cause the re-suspension of sediments, elevated doses of anthropogenic radioactivity to coastal zone populations and sea users. WOW! Do they care?

31. There are many other concerns which include the protected SSSI areas around here (dunes, RSPB sites, intertidal), bordering the Lake District National Park. What will be the impact on birds, natterjack toads and other wildlife? Not to mention humans?

32. Is it wise to site a facility in an area that might be subject to rising sea levels? At one time Millom Iron Mine was the biggest in the world: did the mines go under the sea? Then there is the geological fault which runs from Haverigg to St Bees – has that been taken into consideration?

33. As the process proceeds (if it proceeds) it is likely further issues will arise.


34. As noted, the poll on millom.co.uk suggested those opposed were two to one against those in favour.  On-line discussions in Millom Without found no-one in favour (25 constituents). Whicham Parish Council conducted a survey in 2012 and produced their community plan:

The respondents to the questionnaire listed a number of large scale out of character developments which would have an extremely adverse effect on our “sense of place” and be the erosion of a rural lifestyle and environment into a semi –urban or industrial landscape. It is the potential scale and
nature of these developments that would be seen as being harmful. The impact on the nation’s perception of this unique corner of The Lake District National Park would be altered and our diverse ecology, cultural heritage, agricultural and tourism-based economy would be lost.

There has now been a baseline survey commissioned by the CP from an independent company Yonder. The survey was conducted in the two Copeland electoral wards (Millom and Black Combe and Scafell) where the above ground facility will be sited.  It was a random survey which included 158 interviews and 20 x 30 minute conversations with residents. The purpose of a baseline survey is to find out at the beginning of a project the status of the subject. Here are some of the results:

  • 85% had heard about what was going on
  • 3/4 aware of the search area and Community Partnership
  • Half identified accurate description of GDF
  • 61% against the GDF being sited here (of whom many were strongly opposed)
  • 27% in favour
  • Reasons given why against: safety and security; environment; transportation; infrastructure
  • Wanting more independent information from experts on: safety; environment; waste transportation; economic impact; impact on future generations
  • 44% said they wanted the information from the Council and they wanted to know what the views of the Council are regarding the GDF for or against

However, Cllr Bob Kelly, mayor of Millom and shadow county councillor has decided to ignore the findings on the basis that the respondents were not yet fully informed!

35. Does this suggest that we are a willing community? However, it would appear NWS (and possibly government) are using the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership to give the impression that we are a willing community. For example, in response to letters of complaint about the seismic surveys to Marine Management Organisation, the following was included in their response:-

“The MMO understand that NWS have had ongoing engagement with the public via their community partnerships. We suggest contacting Nuclear Waste Services directly to understand how you can best engage with this process.”

Is this lie number seven or misinformation?


36. Where is the GDF likely to be sited and what might it look like?  We know that the idea is to put the underground facility under the Irish Sea but that there will be a significant array of buildings above ground.  Here is a mock up from the government’s website:

Photo: Illustrative design of the above surface Geological Disposal Facility – NDA/RWM Copyright.

37. The same document, What will a GDF look like? tells us the above ground facility will need one square kilometer, i.e. just over 147 acres, and it needs to be fairly close to the sea.

38. There are two search areas in Copeland: Millom and Blackcombe and Scafell (purple area ), Gosforth and Seascale and Beckermet (green area) seen on the map below which can be found on the Millom Without Parish website.

39. The highlighted areas in South Copeland are Millom, Haverigg and part of Kirksanton. It seems unlikely Millom will be chosen, partly because there is a large population close-by and partly because there is not enough land nearby unless significant road and rail extensions were built.

40. In the Radioactive Waste Management’s INITIAL EVALUATION REPORT: South Copeland area together with the adjacent inshore area  we are told: 

The Area of Interest is located on the west coast of Cumbria and covers an area of land that is approximately 15 square kilometres. It is predominantly rural, with the village of Haverigg found on the coast and small village of Kirksanton in the Whicham Valley. Her Majesty’s Prison, Haverigg lies on an old RAF airfield on the coastal plain. The population in the area is probably less than 300 and has a very low density. The small town of Millom is just to the east of the area that has been subject to this initial evaluation work, and is home to approximately 6,000 people.

The Area of Interest is relatively isolated with agriculture the dominant land use, along with some rural tourism and some retail services. Those that can are likely to travel out of the area for work including to Sellafield, Millom, Barrow-in-Furness and the Low Level Waste Repository or the nearby coastal firing range. The largest employers in the area are the prison at Haverigg and a mineral extraction operation.

Here is part of a map from the document showing the area of interest:

The top half of the area within the red boundary can be discounted as this is now in the proposed National Park south extension which is exempt from consideration.  Indeed, as the following map which identifies the extension shows, most of the area identified by the above red area is no longer permitted, which leaves the developer with only parts of Millom, Haverigg and a small part of Kirksanton. NOTE: The above map is different to the later one shown in 38 above: so the question is, when was the decision made to change the search area to include Millom and why?

When asked where the site for the surface elements of the GDF is likely to be, NWS said, 21st October 2022:

As currently no site for the surface elements of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) have been identified. The current studies are focused on understanding the feasibility of hosting a GDF in South Copeland and any potential site will not be identified until these studies have been completed which could take 3 – 5 years.

So is this lie or misinformation number eight?

41. They are more likely to place the above ground site on land the government already owns. Here is a mock-up of the likely above ground site if the facility was placed near Haverigg/Kirksanton (as previously identified in the Initial Evaluation Report – 40 above). It is on the old airfield next to the prison. As you will see, only a short piece of road would need to be constructed to join the A5093 alongside a short extension of the railway (as this is where the material will come from Sellafield). Remember this is JUST A GUESTIMATE!

Image copyright Google 2021.

It is likely the facility will spill over into Kirksanton.


42. Government are keen to stress the advantages for a community.

43. Hundreds of jobs?  Unlikely many of these will be for local folk as they will need to be specialists.  They are also talking about split sites, so the offices could be in Millom.

44. As NWS documents show, constructing a GDF is on a scale comparable to building the Channel Tunnel or the new Elizabeth underground line in London (or even bigger). We are talking about huge quantities of construction equipment, concrete and other materials. So there are likely to be some construction jobs whilst it is being built.  But on the negative side we are likely to be a building site for a while, 20 years?  Traffic disruption, pollution, dust, noise, from thousands of heavy vehicle movements…Not to ask the question: what are they going to do with the tons and tons of earth/mud?

45. Improved infrastructure: well, it would have to be.  The road transport infrastructure in South Cumbria is dire particularly to Millom and is even worse to the area between Haverigg and Kirksanton. How are all the raw materials and equipment for building going to be brought to site? Are new roads going to be built?  Local big businesses – and locals – would welcome new roads!  But what damage will be done as a result of constructing them – to wild life, to our ancient heritage? And in reality are significant new roads likely to be built given one of the factors for placing the site is Value for Money?

46. Possible transportation of radioactive waste by sea – either to Barrow (and rumours of a rail bridge across to Millom) or even rebuilding the old Millom Port!

47. Funding up to one million a year once Community Partnership is formed will be available.  The flip side is what is going to happen to the value of our properties?  Will we be able to sell should we want to move? When someone is buying a house, as most of you will know, searches need to be conducted: these will show the area is under investigation to site a GDF.  Who would want to move to an area that is being considered for a GDF?  In response to a question about property values this is what NWS said:

We understand the concerns that some residents have about the effects a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) may have on property values in the local area and are considering setting up a voluntary Property Value Protection Scheme which may be in place, subject to government approval, around the end of 2022. We are still working on the details of the scheme and hope to be able to start talking to the local community and explaining any qualification requirements in due course.

48. If you are thinking of selling it is likely you have missed the boat and property values are likely to drop.  You will have to wait until the end of the year to see if you might get any compensation.

49. So what is one million pounds a year being invested through grants to our area worth if our houses are devalued as a result of us being put forward to site a GDF and we, as individuals lose thousands of pounds?  Especially those who have bought in the past couple of years as prices have risen? Not to mention the stress it is causing! How does that benefit the area?

50. Will Haverigg village become the place where staff working at the GDF might want to live? Or will new housing be built? How will that affect locals? Would you want to live next to the UK’s biggest nuclear dump?

51. It will almost certainly affect tourism which has seen a significant boost in the area over the past two years due to Covid.  Are folk going to want to come to holiday where the country’s  largest nuclear waste dump is situated?  Sellafield Visitor’s Centre was closed due to safety risks so it is unlikely there will be a Haverigg Visitor’s Centre.

52. They are likely to need to close the prison down and move it elsewhere a) because they will need the land and b) the security risk of having a prison so near. So what will all those local folk who are employed by the prison do? Move to another area where there is a prison?

53. And so the spin and lies continue: Cumbria Crack. But at least we know from the article that it will take nine months to analyse the findings from the seismic surveys. This means the results should be known in May 2023. However, like many other aspects of this, the date for the results has been changed several times; who knows when or even if the public will find out what the results are?


54. But wait a minute, it seems Copeland have been preparing our area for this purpose for a long time, making it clear in the 2019 Millom and Haverigg Town Investment Plan – foisted on the area by Copeland, again with no real consultation with locals.

The plan makes it clear this area has been identified for a significant role in government and Copeland’s Clean Energy (aka nuclear energy) programme. Clean growth is the first of three cross-cutting principles which is in alignment with the national agenda ‘Advancing nuclear as a clean energy source’ and with regional and sub-regional agendas: ‘Facilitating energy transition including new nuclear and energy efficiency in buildings.’

The plan proudly states, Copeland is actively exploring further opportunities for clean growth including the generation of new, low carbon power at the proposed Cumbria Clean Energy Park, and opportunities for large nuclear new build, small and advanced reactors. Millom has a role to play through providing a skilled workforce to realise these ambitions. We need to play our part in supporting the UK to become a zero-carbon economy by 2050.

The second strategic objective of the town investment plan is ‘To embrace the opportunities presented by clean energy to drive sustainable economic growth.’ So there you have it: it has been ‘visible’ all along!


55. As a result of government reorganisation Drigg and Carlton with Irton and Stanton will now join the South Copeland Search Area for a GDF.

South Copeland GDF Community Partnership tells us more about this and includes the following map showing the new area:

NOTE: The area under consideration appears to have changed: in the earlier map (see 40) Millom town was not included yet under this new map it is. Confusing? Is this another lie or misinformation number nine?

Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership informs us: The parishes of Drigg and Carleton and Irton with Santon will sit outside the Mid Copeland Search Area in the Millom Without ward and will instead be in the South Copeland Search Area, which will be made up of the electoral divisions of Millom and Millom Without. This implies that if it comes to a vote and an area within Drigg and Carleton and Irton with Santon is chosen to site the GDF then residents in Millom and Millom Without will be able to vote. If this is the case it seems grossly unfair.

It is difficult not to think there is some sort of gerrymandering going on. When a base-line survey was conducted in Mid-Copeland, 62% said they would support a GDF in their area whilst 23% were opposed.

In early 2023 Whicham Parish Council conducted a survey of their constituents. Here are the results: For – 15.15%; Against – 76.62%; Don’t Know – 6.49%; Blank forms – 1.73%; Response rate – 62.78%. Given part of the search area covers Kirksanton it is absolutely clear there is no willing community there! However, despite this result, Whicham Parish Council are still remaining neutral.


56. Results of seismic tests supposed to be made public end of 2023. But they keep changing this. Hopefully, by the end of this year we will know whether or not the geophys suggests the developer could go ahead with boreholes. One assumes if the results say it is too dangerous here then that means our area will no longer be considered???? But who knows they constantly change the goalposts.

Supposedly we should know in 2026 which two of the four sites will progress to borehole status. We need to find out more about the borehole process and if this will endanger life (humans, marine life, etc) given the radioactive mud. Meanwhile we are bombarded with their biased information and tempted by their money.

57. It would seem Cumberland Council is in favour of GDF with only a handful opposing it. We know the Tory government support it; seems highly likely Labour would also support it as they support nuclear power.

58. On the East Coast anti-GDF activists put themselves forward in the local elections with many (most?) getting elected. This is in stark contrast to here. The activists there are also hosting anti-GDF events (to counteract the Community Partnership events which only give the positive side and do not address the concerns of local people).

59. After asking our Community Partnership for information on the possible negative effects on the community and environment for two years now, they have agreed to commission a Community Impacts Report based on academic research but this will not be available until the end of March 2024, although this could also change. Meanwhile, here is a list a fellow activist has drawn up.

Largest UK engineering project equivalent to 6 channel tunnels 10-15 years, 24 hour construction site then a site handling the transference of Highly radioactive containers mainly from Sellafield but from around the country by rail and road. The need to mitigate for blasting, dust, light, noise, environmental impact etc.

Destruction of environment both onshore dunescape and landscape and undersea with borehole testing taking place before public opinion is tested.

Prison closure and loss of associated employment streams.

Tourism and tourism potential loss.

Agricultural loss.

Compulsory purchase land and property Haverigg / Kirksanton similar to HS2.

Offsite car park and bussing in of personnel.

Need to accommodate construction personnel.

Need for railway sidings and on site station to deliver personnel and waste.

Transport of 150,000 containers of Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste from mainly Sellafield but also around the country.

Transport of heavy machinery, generators, cranes etc.

Estimated 500,000 wagon loads of tunnelling spoil dumped at Haverigg / Kirksanton to be used at a later date to back fill the dump and or moved by road and rail.

Twice daily movement of personnel on a 24 hour site.

Fenced highly secure 24 hour armed guard presence.

Terrorism threat increasing area surveillance cctv etc.

Permanent protest camps around the area and clash potential.

Activist disruption.

Impact on World Heritage Status of the Lake District National Park.

No ability to use technological advances in the future to more safely manage the waste or repurpose it.

The need to trust scientists geologists etc who have been badly wrong in the past and are making a decision for future generations on a project with a massive time scale of 100,000 years until the highly radioactive waste is deemed safe.

Loss of public services due to difficulty of attracting professionals to an area associated with a dump.

Association of this beautiful area with label of “toxic coast” as the nuclear coast of the Lake District National Park is extended.

Loss of funding streams which can’t coexist with a dump e.g. agriculture, tourism.

The admittance of the need for service provision from the developer for damage to mental health and wellbeing.

The admittance of the need for compensation packages for the affects to business land and property values.

Only 3 councils from over 300 in the Country have chosen to participate in the process.

Cumbria County Council would not take part due to Sellafield long term job losses and the huge loss of income to the County in business rates but the new Cumberland Council support the process without knowing the will of our community.

Split site with logistical jobs retained by the developer away from the area. Similar to Sellafield operations.

The need to state the dump in searches if selling property or land.

New infrastructure bypassing the area akin to Egremont.

Is it really worth the short-sighted gain of funding being made available for local voluntary organisations, etc., when, in the long term, if siting a GDF here in Haverigg and Kirksanton goes ahead, there will no longer be a Haverigg or Kirksanton left for our children or grand-children or great grand-children, to enjoy this beautiful part of the country in the same way that current and previous generations have enjoyed?

60. We have now been informed that the Community Impacts Report will not be site specific, i.e. Haverigg/Kirksanton, the area it is likely to be (unless they choose Drigg) but cover the whole of South Copeland. So it will not cover the future of Haverigg Prison and the potential need for compulsory purchase of property in the area or all the other effects identified above. Really, is there even any point in talking to the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership (AKA Nuclear Waste Services)?

61. So is this what is coming???

62. Under the Freedom of Information Act information about the results of the seismic surveys the developer carried out last August was requested. We have been given several dates when the results will be made public. Here is their latest response:

“I can confirm that Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) does not currently hold the results of the Copeland 3D marine geophysical survey that you refer to in your request. The large volume of complex data that was acquired during the survey is now being interpreted by geoscientists and that is expected to take at least a further 3 or 4 months. This means that the interpretation will not be available for our engineering and safety teams to assess until the end of 2023, with further evaluation continuing into 2004. The Community Partnership and the public will be kept updated with progress.”

63. After having been formed for 20 months the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership have just released a statement regarding Member’s Approach. Click on link and scroll down. The big question is how are they going to: “Ensure the local community has accurate and balanced information so it can make an informed decision?”

Having pointed out to the Partnership that all of the information made public to date by the Community Partnership has been from the viewpoint of NWS – there has been no balance in the information made available to the public to date whatsoever! The Community Partnership responded:

“…we, the members of the Community Partnership get to see and approve all materials that go out in the Partnership’s name including press releases, the newsletter and social media posts. If we aren’t happy or want something changed this is accommodated. We are sure you will appreciate that many of the questions are of a highly technical nature, so expert guidance is necessary. We are however endeavouring to make available information from various sources. If you or any member of the public would like to highlight different expert guidance, we would welcome this.”

So there you have it: the responsibility for all the misinformation given out by NWS/the developers to the public in the form of events, newsletters, media releases, etc., lies firmly with the Community Partership.

NWS and the Community Partnership were also asked to stop pumping out the message that the community can withdraw at any time as this is blatantly not true. Here is their respose:

“…the wording used aligns with the wording in government policy which we and Nuclear Waste Services must adhere to. This policy gives the right of withdrawal to the local authority, in our case Cumberland, and it is open to you to lobby your county councillor.”

64. At the Film Talks: Exploring GDF: Millom several goal posts were changed (more lies/misinformation?)

a. The seismic results were not available and will not be until the end of January.

b. It had always been portrayed that it would be approximately 20 years as a construction site. Following that, either rail or road transportation of the radioactive waste directly into the dump. This is not the case with the developer explaining that the site would be a construction site for the expected 150 life of the dump. The first tunnels would take approximately 20 years before waste could be accepted but tunnelling would continue. This means the movement of spoil (material dug out) will continue for the dump lifetime.

c. The storage of nuclear waste would occur on site as it is transferred from rail or road transport prior to transference into the dump as numerous containers of waste will need to be transferred daily.

d. The dump developer explained that spoil material removed from the dump will not be used as backfill as we have been led to believe and bentonite used instead. This poses the huge question of where the spoil is dumped a very rough estimation of the equivalent of 500,000 lorry loads and the question of transport movements to bring in the bentonite.

e. The developer was unable to clarify if the figures given to Cumbria Council by the developer of initially 800 jobs on site reducing to 600 once nuclear waste begins to be accepted then down to 200 then obviously 0 are still valid.

f. Borehole testing to test the geology of the rock under the sea off our coast will not occur until 2029/30The site will be a secured site.

g. The site will be larger than the 1km squared site often quoted especially during the first 20 years of construction.

h. An independent social anthropologist (CoRWM) stated we could withdraw from the process at anytime via the Community Partnership she was corrected by John Sutton of Sustainable Duddon a member of the partnership who informed her that only the developer or Cumberland Council can remove us from the process.

65. In response to a letter sent to Millom Town Council asking them to consider conducting a survey similar to the one Whicham Parish Council conducted (over 70% said no to the GDF), Millom Town Council rejected this idea. Here is their response:

Regarding your request that Millom Town Council (MTC) consider undertaking a local opinion survey of our community about the possibility that the area could become the long-term home for the country’s Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).   Millom Town Council discussed your letter and the response that you received from Cumberland Council at our meeting on 30th January 2023 and are of the opinion that conducting such a survey would be premature and have little value for the following reasons:

  • MTC has always declared its neutral position in the debate as ultimately it will be the community who will have the final say should the possibility of the area becoming the host community become more likely
  • There needs to be much more credible information available to enable the community to balance both the positive and negative effects of such a development to make an informed decision that will impact on the community future generations
  • Currently the community has not made an application or voiced an opinion requesting MTC to carry out such a survey
  • The results of such a survey could only be taken as a snapshot in time on a process that will take many years to complete and could not be considered a definitive decision of the community

  Millom Town Council will continue to listen to the voices within our community and should the situation change and when further information become available, we will continue to review our position on this matter and MTC’s position on a GDF development locally.   

In response to the above a poll was placed on South West Cumbria Local Information Facebook group.

Millom Town Council are meant to represent the town’s folk on the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership. But how can they do this if they have not asked the town what their views are? Whicham Parish Council recently conducted a postal survey of all the people living there. Do you agree that Millom Town Council should do the same?

13 said no, 77 said yes. The poll was forced to close as someone (admin) took off the No option. Using this information an email has been sent to Millom Town Council asking them to reconsider conducting the same survey in Millom as that conducted in Whicham (4th March 2024). We await their response.

66. Millom Town Council will be discussing the email at their meeting on Wednesday, 27th March, 7 pm at their office in Newton Street.

67. Meanwhile the South Cumbria GDF Community Partnership continues to brainwash local people into supporting having a GDF here. The latest findings of their limited survey suggests there is now 50% of the local population in favour of having the GDF here. WOW!


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