The Nuclear Free Local Authorities have sent a second letter to each the four Community Partnerships responsible for taking forward proposals for a nuclear waste dump to seek assurances that opponents of the plan will have a chance to take up membership.
The Community Partnerships in Allerdale, Mid-Copeland, South-Copeland, all in West Cumbria, and in Theddlethorpe, in East Lincolnshire, are each pursuing the possibility of hosting Britain’s many tons of highlevel radioactive waste, produced from Britain’s civil nuclear and military nuclear programmes, in an undersea Geological Disposal Facility.
The waste will be radioactive and hazardous for well over 100,000 years and the British Government wants to dispose of this in a dump extending out under either the Irish or North Sea. Plans are at an early stage and public opposition is growing.
In his letter, NFLA Chair, Councillor David Blackburn, asks the remaining Community Partnerships to follow the lead shown by Theddlethorpe in being prepared to accept new members who are opposed to the GDF, should they choose to apply for membership.
The Chair of the Theddlethorpe Community Partnership, Mr Jon Collins, has publicly stated that his wishes to see membership reflect a range of views ‘which means recruiting members who are sceptical, or even, at this stage, against the proposed GDF’.
Councillor Blackburn said: “The NFLA believes that the membership of each of the community partnerships must reflect both the demographic and the range of views of those communities.
“Until now most members have been elected Councillors or in some instances connected to the nuclear industry through employment or business interests”.
“We need more independent voices from all walks of life, particularly young people as decisions over a GDF will take place over more than a next decade, and this should include members of the community opposed to the plans, if they want to participate”.
Councillor Blackburn also wants to see newly appointed members to the Community Partnership able to have their say in revising the key documents that determine how the Community Partnership works and
what is expected of them.
He added: “It seems completely unfair to expect new members to the Community Partnership to adhere to a collective Community Partnership Agreement and a personal Code of Conduct that were drawn up without their input. I therefore hope that periodic reviews can be built into the process so they can have their say in
the future as part of the consent-based approach Nuclear Waste Services say they have adopted”.