Allerdale GDF Working Group have finally released a map of their search area today, illustrating where they would like to consider burying the UK’s vast nuclear waste inventory.
However, what they haven’t mentioned is that a significant proportion of the chosen area has previously been declared as unsuitable by the British Geological Survey (BGS). Here is a map produced by the BGS in 2010 which identifies areas unsuitable for geological disposal, largely due to the presence of coal and coal-bed methane.
Consequently the actual area available for the search will be a great deal smaller and they should have released a map which illustrates this. The presence of coal and coal-bed methane is a necessary exclusion criterion since it poses a risk of accidental future intrusion into the GDF structure by those seeking this resource.
We have overlaid the BGS exclusion on the Search Area map, but please note that this is an approximate overlay. It does illustrate that approximately half of the published search area falls within this BGS exclusion zone. The remaining area is in the setting of the Lake District National Park and the importance of the surrounding is recognised by UNESCO in their assessment of its World Heritage Site status.
We also note that they have failed to recognise and exclude the southern section of the Solway Coast AONB, despite this being repeatedly pointed out to them by several organisations including Cumbria Trust and Friends of the Lake District. An AONB has equivalent protection to a National Park and should have been excluded from the beginning.
Copeland have also released their search areas and we will comment on these in the near future.