“Do not trust the horse, Trojans. Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts.” ~ Virgil
Despite DECC’s promises of community benefits, high-value jobs, and the Right to Withdraw … and we shall all live happily ever after, we did not let in the government’s Trojan horse for what misery it would bring us were we to do so. As Leader of the County Council (at that time) I spent many, many hours researching the whys and wherefores of an underground waste repository (a GDF) here in West Cumbria. The more I researched the more and more convinced I became that West Cumbria simply was not the right location, despite the presence of Sellafield. Interestingly, no government geologist (or DECC) has ever rebutted the geological argument that West Cumbria is too fractured and fissured to host a GDF a thousand metres below the surface and in an underground site estimated to be as big as Carlisle.
It is significant also that at least one local, prominent politician who vehemently opposed the decision to reject a GDF has since publicly admitted that the decision was the correct one to make.
A year on, I am even more convinced that the decision we made was correct. To allow a GDF in Cumbria would devastate the county as well as put our children and our children’s children in grave potential danger.
There are those, however, who continue to insist we should explore the Cumbria’s geology … just in case … and dismiss our concerns in a cavalier manner. They are wrong, and they do Cumbria no favours. The immediate and urgent priority, for all of us, is to make safe the “significant risks to people and the environment” (NAO) which exist at Sellafield where millions of pounds have been wasted and 12 of 14 targets have been missed. So before the government starts digging a GDF, it should sort out Sellafield once and for all. (For more detail read the Friends of the Earth report (“Towards a Safer Cumbria”*))
This is not scaremongering, as some would claim, but the opinion of Members of the Public Accounts Committee (“intolerable risk”) and the National Audit Office. Would you really trust the same nuclear organisations and people to commission the excavation of a GDF and bury materials that will be radioactive for thousands of years when, after many years and shed loads of public money, Sellafield – the sixth most radioactive site in the world – has spectacularly failed to get to grips with the nuclear waste it already has on site?
Furthermore, in order to eliminate the opposition, DECC proposes to largely ignore the county council; it will no longer be among the decision makers; thus the government successfully disenfranchises tens of thousands of Cumbrian people. Trust? What trust? This is not the fictional totalitarianism of Orwell’s Oceania. It is today. It is an affront to democracy!
That is why we need your support: to oppose the government’s madcap scheme to bury hundreds of tonnes of highly toxic nuclear waste deep within the Cumbrian earth for, make no mistake, DECC still has its sights firmly fixed on Cumbria.
Cumbria Trust Chairman*Shortly available as a download