GDF Community Partnership South Copeland

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The Community Partnership

The Community Partnership is made up of the local authority, the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) developer and members who are reflective of the community in the Search Area. Our role is to facilitate discussion with the community and identify relevant information that people in the Search Area want or need about the siting process. We are the main point of contact between the community and the developer, so we are keen to hear your views.

Community Partnership members can be in favour, against or neutral on a GDF – it is about ensuring that all voices are heard and that all the relevant information is shared with the community. If you are interested in joining the Community Partnership click here.

The Members Approach is detailed below. The full role and key responsibilities of a Community Partnership can be found from page 45 of the Implementing Geological Disposal – Working With Communities Policy.

Who are the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership members?

  • Ged McGrath, Chair

    Ged has lived in South Copeland for 20 years and has a wealth of experience working in and engaging with the local community. This includes previously owning and operating Millom Post Office, being elected as a local Councillor, and running a tourism business. He joins South Copeland GDF Community Partnership as an experienced Chair; he is currently Chair of governors for Thwaites Primary School in Millom and Chair at Mayfield School for young people with special educational needs in Whitehaven, as well as Chair for a number of local community groups in Millom. As Chair, he’ll continue to support with the operations of the Community Partnership and take forward this vital conversation with the local community.

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  • Nuclear Waste Services
    Represented by Kelly Anderson

    Kelly is the Community Engagement Manager for the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership and her role is to represent the developer, Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), which is investigating potential GDF sites across the UK. Although she represent the views of the developer on the Community Partnership, her role is twofold: she is here to listen to the views of Partnership members and the wider community and feed them back to the developer. Without representation from the developer on the Partnership, it would be difficult for NWS to understand local concerns and it would be more difficult for Partnership members to get community members the information that they need. Prior to her role at NWS, Kelly was at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for 16 years in a range of stakeholder engagement roles.

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  • Local Authority Representative, Cumberland Councillor for Millom
    Bob Kelly

    Bob’s background is in academia having worked for the Open University and being Head of Department of Politics and International Studies for three years. He is now the Cumberland Councillor for Millom and the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Performance, Climate Change, Licensing, Planning and Regulatory Services. Bob is the Local Authority Representative on the Community Partnership.

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  • Friends of the Lake District
    Represented by Kate Wilshaw

    Kate works for the Cumbrian charity Friends of the Lake District (FLD) protecting the environment of Cumbria and the Lake District, and currently lives in rural south Cumbria. She joined The South Copeland Community Partnership to help make sure that the environment is taken into account during the Community Partnership process. She hopes to be able to offer a voice for the landscape and wildlife of South Copeland and to work with the people in the South Copeland community who value them too.

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  • Sustainable Duddon
    Represented by John Sutton

    John was born in Cumberland and has returned following his retirement from his career working away in the Civil Service in London and Yorkshire. John got involved in Sustainable Duddon as it is an organisation whose aim is to promote sustainable living and development locally. The discussions around a Geological Disposal Facility are of significance to all of us in South Copeland, so he applied to join the Community Partnership to represent Sustainable Duddon and to help ensure that as many local people as possible are a part of this important and complex conversation, and to help promote sustainable outcomes.

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  • Millom Without Parish Council
    Represented by Carl Carrington

    Carl has a background in conservation and planning and moved to the area in 2016 although he continues to commute to his job as head of planning for a local authority in Lancashire. He joined Millom Without Parish Council at the beginning of 2020 with the specific aim of offering planning and regeneration expertise to the Parish and was nominated by the Parish Council to represent the Parish interests on the GDF Community Partnership in 2022.

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  • Drigg and Carleton Parish Council
    Represented by Chris Gigg

    Chris has worked in Engineering and Automation for most of his working life. He has lived in Drigg for the last 4 years where he is a Parish Councillor and Secretary of the Drigg Local History Group. Chris represents Drigg and Carleton Parish Council on the Partnership. Drigg and Carleton and Irton and Santon joined the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership Search Area due to Local Government Reorganisation in April 2023.

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  • Whicham Parish Council
    Represented by Maggie Cumming

    Maggie is originally from Kendal but with strong family connections to West Cumbria. She trained as an Occupational Therapist specialising in Psychiatry but later became a full time carer as part of an Adult Placement Scheme. Her interests include ensuring local facilities meet the needs of people with disabilities, enabling them to visit and stay in this beautiful area. Ensuring accessibility to the GDF siting process for all is therefore a key priority of Maggie’s on the Partnership. As a member of the Community Partnership, she hope to represent the views of Whicham Parish and ensure there is access to the relevant information.

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  • Millom Town Council
    Represented by Dave Billing

    David was born and raised in Millom and has had a 40-year career in the nuclear industry , latterly as a Corporate Inspector of radiological and environmental protection compliance. The scope of work covered operations throughout the UK, and customers sited in Europe and Japan. David is a founder Director and Trustee of Millom Recreation Centre, a qualified Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)  junior coach and member of the Cumbia LTA Executive management team. He continues to participate in various local community groups including a volunteer Advisor at Copeland Citizens Advice. David joins the Community Partnership representing Millom Town Council.

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  • Millom Without Cumberland Councillor
    Andy Pratt

    Andy has lived in the Millom Without ward for the last 38 years and is now based in Holmrook with his family. He is currently ward councillor for Gosforth and Seascale ward on Cumberland Council and also sits on the Executive and holds the portfolio for the Environment Place and Inclusive Communities. He is Chair of Governors for both Gosforth CofE School and Kirkland Academy and has held this role for 18 years. He is also Vice-Chair of Drigg and Carleton Parish Council and a trustee of Drigg Young Farmers Club.

  • Business Sector representative

    Bill Amos

    Bill is a Millom resident with a deep-rooted connection to the town. Born and raised there, he treasures the close-knit community that has always been a part of his and his family’s life. Professionally, Bill is a entrepreneur, serving as the founder and owner of a digital marketing and tech support company. Beyond his business pursuits, Bill actively represents the local business community on various panels and organisations, working to improve the town’s economic prospects and quality of life. He has an unwavering commitment to making Millom an even better place to live and work, and joined the Partnership to ensure local businesses are represented in the conversation on GDF.


Mission Statement

The South Copeland GDF Partnership aims to assist everyone in the local community through the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) process, whatever their views.

We will seek out and share relevant information, discuss concerns and find answers to questions the community has about all aspects of the siting process, including what hosting a GDF could mean. We will work to ensure that whether a GDF is delivered in South Copeland or elsewhere, there will be benefits and a positive legacy for our communities.

Members Approach

The Members of the South Copeland Community Partnership have agreed that we will take the following approach to our role on the South Copeland Community Partnership.

Our aim is to assist everyone in the local community through the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) process,
whatever their views.

Why we are members:

  • We are passionate about our local area, community, and environment
  • We want to do our best to help the local community through what has the potential to be a locally divisive issue

What we think we can achieve:

  • Understand and communicate to others how this Government process is designed to work
  • Ensure the local community has accurate and balanced information so it can make an informed decision
  • Develop priorities for community investment funding for the maximum benefit of the local community
  • Challenge the developer, as appropriate
  • Commission scientific and other studies independently of the developer,

How we intend to work:

  • Take a neutral stance so that we are best able to work for people of all views within the community
  • Ensure transparency of working
  • Ensure speedy communication of all relevant information as it is released
  • Represent our parish / town residents’ majority view where evidenced from specific surveys, whilst continuing to act for
    those of minority views

What is down to others:

  • The science / investigations fall to NWS to coordinate and we will work with them to make information available
    to the public
  • The Government’s defined process means the decision as to whether to proceed or withdraw rests with others but
    is informed by the Community Partnership

South Copeland GDF Community Partnership meeting minutes

Please download meeting minutes from South Copeland GDF Community Partnership below

Copeland GDF Working Group meeting minutes

Please download meeting minutes from the Copeland GDF Working Group below

Other documents

Please find additional documents about the GDF siting process below