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.