The Government Proposals

The Department of Energy and Climate change (DECC) have produced a new consultation paper with regard to a new MRWS Mark 2 process. Click to download

Cumbria Trust believes the new consultation paper relating to MRWS is defective and worrying in very many and disturbing ways.

However, one aspect, in particular, has partially acted as catalyst for accelerating the formation of the Cumbria Trust (which had been planned for later in the year).

This aspect is that DECC now proposes that all County Councils will be excluded from the key decision making process! Cumbria Trust believes this is aimed at specifically excluding Cumbria County Council.

In other words, Government, having previously agreed that this issue was one which was relevant to all Cumbrians, has now decided (after Cumbria CC said no) to change the rules and dis-enfranchise two thirds of the Cumbrian electorate.

Eddie Martin, retired Chair of Cumbria County Council, from Crosby, commented:

“As I have stated before,  the government’s action in proposing to exclude Cumbria County Council from the process is “astonishingly undemocratic” and whilst politicians talk about the big society and localism they abandon these principles when they do not suit them.”

John Wilson, a local commercial lawyer and one of the Cumbria Trust’s founders from Keswick, adds:-

“Anyone can see what is going on here – it is a brazen, shameless, unlawful and outrageous attempt by the Government to usurp our democratic rights to get the result they want.”

Political objectivity and independence in West Cumbria

Cumbria Trust is very concerned about the close connections between some politicians in West Cumbria and the nuclear industry and also has grave doubts as to whether truly objective and independent decisions are being taken by all of the West Cumbrian politicians.

Also as to whether the reliance on the nuclear industry is causing some decisions to be taken when they might not be in other areas which don’t have this reliance.

There are also real concerns about the reluctance of people connected (directly or indirectly) with the nuclear industry to speak out on any matters nuclear.

Geoff Betsworth, another Cumbria Trust founder from Silloth,  added:

 “Cumbria Trust aims to ensure that the views of all Cumbrians are properly represented with regard to a nuclear waste repository – wherever they live.”

Cumbria Trust believes that DECC are NOT looking at anywhere else in the country and that the attempt to re-launch MRWS as a national process is a transparent charade and that DECC only has West Cumbria in its thoughts and sights.

Indeed, Cumbria Trust believes that Government has been obsessed with siting a GDF in West Cumbria since the 1980s and is intent on achieving this by almost any means – however undemocratic, illogical and unsafe.

Of course, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s predecessor (NIREX) effectively did this before in “irrationally” (according to the Enquiry Inspector in 1996) choosing it’s preferred West Cumbria site for a nuclear waste repository at Longlands Farm due to its proximity to Sellafield; that is instead of any of the more suitable geological sites elsewhere in the Country which had been identified already.

The NIREX case related to Cumbria County Council turning down a planning application (not least of all due to irrational site selection) but they were supported by Copeland Borough Council which then stated:

“Although concerned that the future of civil nuclear activities in the Borough could be put at risk by investigations elsewhere, Copeland regards safety as being paramount in the search for the “best” site, wherever it is”.


As it is, Copeland regards the selection process as being flawed, with insufficient attention being given to alternative sites…..”

And Copeland meant alternative sites elsewhere in the country [NOT WEST Cumbria] with better and safer geology.

Clearly the geology has not changed since 1996, but it seems that the attitudes of some politicians have changed with regard to SAFETY.

All of this would be less important were we not dealing with the most dangerous substances known to mankind; radioactive waste.

In this regard, Cumbria Trust believes that Copeland Borough Council of 1996 was absolutely right.

SAFETY has to be paramount.

For a GDF to be safe the geology has to be right. Any GDF is designed to leak, the geology is the ultimate protection – or should be.

In short, Cumbria Trust believes that, in not carrying out such a national survey, the Government is not acting in the national interest.