The Copeland GDF Working Group would like to hear views from local people as it begins work to identify where in Copeland – including the area off the coast – could be considered for a Geological Disposal Facility for higher activity radioactive waste.
Formed in November, the GDF Working Group has started local engagement and is providing a range of information for people. One of the Group’s tasks is to identify a Search Area (or Areas) that could be considered further by a Community Partnership and it will do this by taking into account a range of published information, but it also wants local people to share their views.
Mark Cullinan, Independent Chair of the Copeland GDF Working Group, said: “We’ve begun work to look at where to start. We already have a range of information about the wider Copeland area, but we would like to gather more and it’s really important that we hear the views of local people as we do this.
“As the Search Area (or Areas) are identified, the views from local people will be used to inform the Working Group. The Working Group will look at all feedback alongside the gathered information we have about the Copeland area. We welcome local views and I would encourage people to look at the information we’ve made available on our website and to get in touch to let us know what they think.”
The Working Group has a range of information about the GDF project, including a set of Initial Evaluation Reports which were produced by Radioactive Waste Management (RWM). The reports concluded there may be potential to host a GDF in Copeland and the adjacent inshore area. The area within the current or proposed future boundaries of the Lake District National Park has already been excluded.
Barnaby Hudson, RWM Siting Manager, added: “The Search Area (or Areas) can be refined further over time if a Community Partnership is formed and as we gather increasing levels of information from our investigations. The identified Search Areas are a starting point in the GDF siting journey, which is envisaged to take several years. The Working Group will identify prospective Community Partnership members that reflect the communities in the Search Area(s) but that membership will also continue to evolve and develop over time.
“Ensuring there’s balance between environment, social and economic factors can be challenging. To aid the Working Group in scoping future conversations we’re asking for people’s views on what local matters are important to them.”
The Working Group welcomes any requests for information from the public and is running two webinars on Tuesday, March 23, which will include covering the background to the GDF project and the role of the Working Group.
Views can be shared by contacting the Working Group via email: firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone 0300 0660 100 or writing to: Copeland GDF Working Group, Building 329, Thomson Avenue, Harwell Campus, Didcot OX11 0GD.
The website also has a lot of information, and people can also sign up to a monthly newsletter: https://southcopeland.workinginpartnership.org.uk/contact-us/sign-up-to-our-newsletter/