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South Copeland GDF Community Partnership Newsletter – Issue 6

March 20, 2024

Hello and welcome to the latest newsletter from the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership.

Over the last year, notable progress has been made on the journey towards understanding whether South Copeland is a suitable location to build a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) and whether it is right for local people. This has been made possible through the collaboration and engagement of residents with the Community Partnership.

Our recently published Annual Report, available to view on our website, takes a closer look at our activities in 2023, and the Community Partnership’s commitment to engagement, participation, and addressing community needs going forward.

A number of new members have joined the Community Partnership so that we now have a team of locally informed and connected members who are embracing the role and helping to provide the information required for local people. Earlier this year, Kate Willshaw, representing Friends of the Lake District, and John Sutton, representing Sustainable Duddon, joined the Partnership, giving a voice to the environment and community groups, and we have recently welcomed Bill Amos from the business sector (see page 8).

As a Partnership, our main goal is to ensure that our community understand the GDF project and its potential impacts. In 2023, we attended 63 engagement events talking to 906 people, including Community Partnership meetings in public, drop-in sessions, larger scale showcase events, and joining community meetings, shows and openings. At the Film Talks: Exploring GDF events in November, independent academics, the Environment Agency, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), and the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) joined the Community Partnership to discuss short films on GDF and answer questions from the public. And in late January – early February this year we were joined by Fiona McEvoy, Head of Site Characterisation and Research & Development at NWS, at public talks on what is known about the geology in Copeland so far and what future studies will look like to ensure the long-term safety of a GDF, our communities and the environment. We will share information from the geology events as soon as it is made accessible.

In the first year of the Partnership (2022), we were able to allocate £1 million of Community Investment Funding (CIF), a fund that NWS has made available to communities simply for engaging in the conversation about GDF. I am delighted that, following on from this, the second year’s funding was also fully allocated in 2023, bringing the total spent locally to £2 million since the Partnership launched (see page 9). This money is making a real difference to local people, fuelling projects that provide economic opportunities, enhance the natural and built environment, and improve community wellbeing, leaving a lasting legacy for the community, regardless of the GDF outcome. Applications are now open for 2024. Also within this issue, the Leader of Cumberland Council, Mark Fryer, offers his view on geological disposal and the siting process (page 7), and we take a look at the multi-barrier approach of a GDF (page 6). I hope you find this issue interesting and informative, and as ever, please do get in touch if you have questions, an information request, or wish to share your views.

Ged McGrath
Chair, South Copeland
GDF Community Partnership

Ged McGrath, Chair of South Copeland GDF Community Partnership

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