PH: So it was taken as read that the geology was something that could be approached later
DS: Yes, so the collusion and the fiddling was the assumption that we’ll develop the voluntarist process without mentioning the geology, and the collusion behind that is governments, when they set out a white paper, always have an idea of what they’re aiming for. Now the Blair government in 2001 would never have set out this white paper talking about voluntarism without having some idea of what the end product was going to be. There is no question in my mind that in 2001, Nirex as its executive arm, if you like, and the two borough councils in West Cumbria (namely Copeland and Allerdale) were by this time colluding with the government to say “of course we’ll volunteer – just set up the process in such a way that we can volunteer and never mind the geology – don’t mention the geology” because the planning inquiry of six years prior to that had shown that the geology was very unsafe. So in a way it’s what lawyers call predetermination. This is a word that lawyers and politicians run a mile from.
DS: So, my case is that the deliberate omission of any mention of geology, and the fact that they were concentrating on voluntarism, together with the history of what had happened in the decade preceding that, means that the government was predetermined to go back to West Cumbria by this backdoor root of voluntarism, and that it would suppress any
mention of geology for as long as possible.
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