On the 30th January 2013 Cumbria County Council voted not to proceed to Stage 4 of MRWS www.cumbria.gov.uk/planning-environment/nuclear/mrws.asp.
Copeland Borough Council and Allerdale District Council both voted to proceed. However, Allerdale attached a condition that:
“The role of both District and County Councils continues to be acknowledged in the decision making process i.e. one cannot agree to proceed without the other.”
It had previously been agreed, by the three Councils and Central Government, that Cumbria County Council’s agreement was needed alongside that of Copeland or Allerdale.
After the January decision the Government acknowledged that the current process in west Cumbria had finished.
The Government via Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now announced in the new Consultation that it proposes to remove County Councils from the key decision making processes. The new proposals are also viewed by many as significantly reducing the role of other bodies such as Parish and Town Councils.
The Government claims that MRWS is being launched as a new National process and the proposals are not aimed at Cumbria.
Cumbria Trust notes that the only areas to express an interest in “voluntarily” hosting a repository following the 2008 MRWS White Paper were Copeland (within weeks of its publication) and later Cumbria County Council and Allerdale District Council
Cumbria Trust believes that the likelihood is that Copeland and possibly Allerdale will give consideration to restarting the process in West Cumbria and, of course, if the County Council is not involved then this changes the whole process beyond recognition. In short it appears the process is being structured so the Government gets the decision it wants.