The Dept. for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the government department dealing with the GDF programme, has sent Cumbria Trust and other organisations a list of responses to questions which went unanswered at recent workshop events which we attended. Unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly they have been very selective in which questions they have chosen to answer, and which to ignore. They failed to give adequate responses to a number of Cumbria Trust’s key questions. Here are just a few of them:
How could it possibly be appropriate for the first and only test of public support to take place 20 years after the process starts, during which time the community will have been subject to a large scale borehole drilling programme lasting for a decade or more?
Why does BEIS suggest (in 4.57) that a local authority member of a Community Partnership may have the power to overrule other partnership members? What kind of partnership would that be if one member could ignore the others?
Why is the process very simple to enter – even a member of the public can formally express an interest, and yet be extremely difficult to leave?
Why has BEIS gone against the advice of their own advisory committee, CoRWM, and many others, by watering down the geological screening report to such an extent that it no longer screens any areas out at all?
This gives the clear impression that the consultations are not being taken seriously, and they are there to give the appearance of listening, while continuing along a predetermined path.