Cumbria Trust welcomes the NDA’s response to the recent reports showing photographs of the B30 and B29 storage ponds, showing their neglected and dangerous condition.
The NDA’s response includes some reassurance that it is is aware of the poor condition of these ponds, and is now working to reduce the significant risks posed by their appalling state of disrepair.
However, the response also includes a startling revelation:
“The pond’s overhead crane, which had been out of action since the 1990s, has been fixed and is now being used again.”
The admission that a key tool required for the maintenance of this most hazardous facility has been unusable for two decades is remarkable. These ponds are so dangerous that they are currently the NDA’s top priority, yet they have been left to decay and degrade without the most fundamental mechanical equipment.To put that time frame in context, it took just over 8 years from President Kennedy’s speech to congress in 1961, declaring the ambition of man walking on the moon, to realising that feat of engineering.
How little concern must the government have for the safety of Cumbrians to allow such a dangerous facility to be all but ignored for decades, and to degrade into a state that poses an intolerable risk, according to the National Audit Office?
How quickly would this work have taken place if the ponds were not in West Cumbria, but in West London?
When DECC claims to be conducting a national search for a GDF site, should we believe it, or are risks to some distant regions more tolerable than risks to others?