At a meeting of the shadow authority Cumberland Council held on 18th October a motion was proposed to write to the chairs of the three Community Partnerships to ask them to review the areas of search for a possible Geological Disposal Facility in Cumberland, take full account of public opinion and the views of Councillors representing wards wholly or partially within the current areas of search when undertaking that review and consider reducing or removing entirely some Areas of Search.
Only three councillors voted for the motion: two greens and one independent; Labour, Liberal Democrat and Tory councillors all voted against the motion giving, for the first time, a clear indication that the new Cumberland Council which comes into being in April next year, supports the siting of a GDF in Cumberland. This is a blow but perhaps not entirely unexpected as all major parties support nuclear power.
Millom Town Council’s mayor, and county councillor Bob Kelly, spoke against the motion. The following comments are based on notes taken at the meeting and cannot be guaranteed totally accurate: He began by saying he had some sympathy with the motion. With reference to the recent baseline survey commissioned by the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership which found 61% against the GDF and 27% in favour, Cllr Kelly discounted this result on the basis that the respondents were not yet fully informed.
He said it was important not to close off the partnership, that they need to be kept going so that councils can have a say. He agreed the current set up might not be ideal but they will look at the make-up of CPs later. He added they must look carefully at proposals and that nothing will be pushed through. He noted (as NWS told the recent CP meeting in Millom) that early on people everywhere were against the GDF but over time, in places where it has gone ahead, they have changed their minds and come round to the idea. (This needs fact checking).