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50% now support GDF?

According to the latest survey conducted by Yonder the percentage of people who now support a GDF in our area has risen significantly to 50%. Why is this? First of all, it is partly because Drigg and Carleton are now in South Copeland. Secondly, we have had two years of drip-drip propaganda. Thirdly, we have had two years worth of bribery. Fourthly, they are purposefully hiding where the site will be when at the beginning of the process it was acknowledged it would be in Haverigg and Kirksanton. And fifthly, there has been no acknowledgement of the potential negatives. So Millom Town Council and the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership can be proud of what they have managed to achieve!

South Holderness Proposed New Site – Withdrawn almost immediately!

Someone in South Holderness proposed the area as a potential site for the GDF. However, within a matter of weeks the leading authority East Riding of Yorkshire Council withdrew from the process. And that is a Tory led Council! Would that Cumberland Council (Labour led) would follow suit.


In a recent press release, Nuclear Free Local Authorities, which has members from 40 local authorities in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, is urging Millom Town Council and other relevant Parish Councils to follow the lead of Whicham Parish Council and ask their constituents if they are for or against a GDF being sited in their area.

NFLA English Chair, Councillor David Blackburn, explained: “Councillors everywhere stand for office in the expectation that they will faithfully serve their community and reflect their constituents’ views. At the most local level of government, parish or town councils, the Councillor will be resident in and a member of that community, and their decisions will have a direct impact of their own lives and those of their neighbours, friends and family members, who are also their voters.“

The GDF will represent a massive long-term construction and engineering undertaking, having been compared to the building of the Channel Tunnel. A GDF would take at least ten years to build and would be accepting packages of high-level radioactive waste for over a century, before the tunnels are backfilled and sealed, and the surface facility removed. It would be hugely disruptive to any small community, impacting the quality of life of local residents for generations and damaging the environment.“

In January of this year, Whicham commendably sent out a questionnaire to all of its parishioners asking if they were in favour of, or opposed, the GDF. Around 400 questionnaires were returned by post from about two thirds of those households who received the questionnaire. 300 were opposed to the plan at that point, a clear indication that Whicham was an ‘unwilling’ community.“

Whicham’s representative on the Community Partnership can now act in the near future with the knowledge that their constituents’ views have been polled and we hope that other local Councils will want to follow their lead and also conduct opinion polling. This should be an iterative process and we believe that such polls should be repeated from time-to-time to allow local Councillors to continue to take the pulse of their community on this, the most contentious of local issues.”

In response, Millom Town Council have agreed to add it to their agenda for their next meeting which is likely to be on Wednesday, 31st January 2024 (as they do not meet in December). Town Council meetings are usually held on the last Wednesday of the month and are held at the Council Offices, 6 Newton Street, Millom and start at 7 p.m. So if you think we who live in Millom and Haverigg should be asked if we are for or against a GDF being sited in our area, make Millom Town Councillors know by attending the meeting.


In response to me asking the Community Partnership about the above they have replied to say:

“The information from the Community Forum is being included in the scoping document for the Community Impacts report. At present we are still finalising the document, but for clarity, the scope will ask the researcher to cover both the potential negative and positive impacts, not just the negative impacts. We will then look for an independent review. As we are not at that stage yet, we do not currently have any independent bodies involved.

There will be a Community Forum to look at a draft of the Community Impact Report before final sign off in order to make sure that no issues around negative impacts or positive effects have been missed then it will be published on the Community Partnership website.”

Let’s hope they keep their word! It would be good to ensure an independent organisation conducts the independent review. Personally I would prefer it was Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates as I would trust them.

Film Talks: Exploring GDF: Millom 

We learned more at the above event in Millom on 24th November 2023. See front page, No. 64, for feedback. Quite a lot of contradictions! Main points: results of seismic survey now pushed back to end January. The area chosen will be a construction site for about 150 years! Transference of waste on site (by either rail or road) into dump would take place daily. Spoil material (from digging tunnels) will not be used as backfill but bentonite (type of absorbent clay) will be used raising issues of how will bentonite be brought to site and where will waste go? Number of jobs created: it seems the developer told Cumbria Council there would be 800 new jobs to begin with, reducing to 600 then 200 then 0 – the developer was unable to confirm or deny this. Borehole testing will not take place until 2029/2030. Site will be larger than 1 square kilometer during first 20 years of construction. People are still spreading the lie that we, the community, can pull out at any time.

Community Impacts Report

The South Copeland GDF Community Partnership was set up (December 2021). In their own words, this is a partnership whose main purpose is to help local people “understand more about the Community Partnership and Geological Disposal, including what a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) is, why it is required, and what it means for our community.”

Since December 2021 many of us have been asking the Community Partnership what the potential negative impacts of siting the GDF (nuclear dump) are likely to be here in Haverigg and Kirksanton. 

During this period all the Community Partnership (aka Nuclear Waste Services) have done is promote the so-called ‘positive’ effects and manipulate local people to believe the GDF would be good for our area through the provision of biased information and grants to voluntary organisations (and if you dare to oppose the GDF you are told you are stopping local organisations receiving much needed funding). They have repeatedly ignored our requests for more impartial information which gives both positive and negative effects.

It was agreed at a meeting of the Community Partnership a few months ago that they would commission a report to look at the potential impact, this, they are calling, the ‘Community Impacts Report.’

In response to a request for information about the report, here is the response of the Community Partnership:

“The Community Partnership is in the process of drafting the scope of the Community Impacts Report. They are then hoping to commission it as a piece of academic research and hope to publish the report by the end of March 2024.”

A fellow activist who strongly opposes the siting of the GDF here has come up with the following list of potential impacts:

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.

Members of the Community Partnership and local councils need to ask themselves:

Is it really worth the short-sighted gain of funding being made available for local voluntary organisations when, in the long term, 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?

Here is what someone who loves coming to this part of the world has to say about the proposal:

We have had a caravan on Butterflowers and previously Harbour Lights when it was just getting on its feet. We feel our time up here is a little bit of heaven and everyone we meet are so friendly.

We would be so upset to see it go the same way as our childhood holiday home at Drigg. Here the storage area was right next to holiday and permanent homes, these now lie dormant and a very close community of people moved on in the way of progress!!

CP Response

Here is their response to my questions posed on 21 April 2023 (see previous post):

1. What is the Community Impacts Report?

In response to questions from the community on what the negative impacts of a GDF in South Copeland are, the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership would like to commission a Community Impacts report. The scope of the report is yet to be defined but it would focus on trying to understand what the potential impacts (both positive and negative) are of a GDF in South Copeland. The report would look at the impacts that other major infrastructure projects in the UK had on their local communities.

2. What does the following mean: Assure the community that key concerns are fully integrated into the developing process for potential Community Withdrawal?

The South Copeland GDF Community Partnership needs to be thinking about both the short- and long-term issues regarding the siting of a GDF within our communities. We are acutely aware that the future remains uncertain, and we are also working with the Developers timetable regarding the key considerations in building a GDF. Decisions can change over time. This may be impacted by the Technical and/or Geological considerations or the Community does not support the hosting of a GDF.

At this point in time, the position is not clear as to how this may evolve but it is sensible that the Partnership starts to work with the Developer to ensure an exit process is in place and community concerns as to how this is done is openly discussed with the Nuclear Waste Services.

3. What does this mean: Development Consent Order?

A Development Consent Order is the planning process that developments class as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), such as the GDF must go through to obtain planning permission. More info on the process can be found here:…

Questions for South Copeland GDF Community Partnership

The following letter, by Jan Bridget, has just been sent to the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership admin with a request to forward it to members of the Community Partnership:

I am writing to strongly complain about how members of the public (the community) are kept informed about what the Community Partnership are doing (in our name?) and how the meetings are being run.

Whilst members of the public can attend the meetings and are allocated 15 minutes for questions we can only see the previous (draft) minutes at the actual meeting which does not give us time to read, digest and disseminate the information in order to form any questions we may want to ask during the allotted 15 minutes in response.

Similarly, as I mentioned at last night’s meeting, we do not get sight of any reports or feedback being discussed during the meeting and have to try and understand what is happening from what is being said at the meeting. Again, this makes it extremely difficult for us to follow what is happening. I sought clarification as to what the procedures are at local council meetings and Councillor Moore confirmed that documents are made available to the public before meetings (I think this is what he said).

This whole process makes it difficult for members of the public to keep up-to-date with what the Community Partnership are doing and gives the impression that you are purposefully trying to keep us in the dark.

Having now had time to read the minutes of the last meeting I have several queries for the Community Partnership (NOT NWS):

1. Can I have some clarification please about what is going to happen about the independent report on the potential negative effects on our area should a GDF be sited here? And will there be an opportunity for the public to feed in questions we wish to raise (and have raised numerous times)?

2. What is happening about a public meeting? Why can the Community Partnership – who are meant to represent the community and whose chief role is communication with the community (at least that is my understanding) – not organise a public meeting?

3. Why is the GDF search area not coming up in house searches? Surely Copeland/Cumberland Council have a legal duty to include this when searches are conducted? Can the Community Partnership follow this up please? (Had I known the area was going to be considered for the GDF there is no way I would have moved here).

4. How are the Community Partnership going to represent opposing views?

5. It is pretty obvious that the only possible site in our area (apart from Drigg which has just been added to our area) is at the old RAF airfield in Haverigg but that land from Kirksanton would also be necessary. Indeed, it was this area that was identified initially according to…/Sou… Can we have an acknowledgement of this, please?

I would like to reiterate, I am asking the Community Partnership, not Nuclear Waste Services, to respond to these questions.

Thank you.

Jan Bridget