There appears to have been some confusion about the meeting on 11th July. CALC seems to have misunderstood Cumbria Trust’s article, which was based on information about the meeting contained in the email circulated by CALC on 19 June. This included the statement:
“Richard Griffin the nuclear officer at the district council will speak about the policy adopted by Allerdale borough council to the latest government initiative on a geological disposal facility. He may have some information on the last public consultation described as Site Evaluation”
CALC has subsequently emailed town and parish councillors to deny that Allerdale is positioning itself for the new GDF process. That wasn’t something which Cumbria Trust suggested, or even implied. In fact we acknowledged that the recent change of Allerdale leadership represents a significant improvement on the previous executive, and is likely to lead to the council more closely representing the views of Allerdale’s electorate.
The former leader, Alan Smith, and his Workington-dominated executive, voted in 2013 to continue the search process for a GDF site (MRWS stage 4) in Allerdale, in the knowledge that Workington had already been excluded during MWRS stage 2 in 2010, the geological screening process. The presence of coal and coal-based methane in the area was the key exclusion criteria.
This meant that in practice Alan Smith’s executive were voting to volunteer other parts of rural Cumbria where no executive members lived. In particular the Solway Plain, close to Silloth was considered to be at risk, since the geologist working for MRWS, Dr Dearlove, had identified the Mercia Mudstone bedrock as being potentially suitable.
Thanks to the work of Emeritus Professor David Smythe, we discovered that the geological screening report had initially excluded the entire Solway Plain in its draft version, but by the time the report was published, in October 2010, an area large enough to accommodate a GDF was no longer excluded. This gave the impression that politics had been allowed to take precedence over science, and the absolute refusal to release the draft version of the screening report reinforced that impression. We were fortunate that the draft screening report was leaked to Professor Smythe, which allowed us to see the extent of the manipulation.