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Allerdale GDF Working Group Newsletter – February 2021

February 17, 2021

Hello, my name is Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong, I’m the independent Chair of the newly formed Allerdale GDF Working Group, and I’d like to thank you for registering to receive our e-newsletter.

Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong, Independent Chair, Allerdale GDF Working Group

Following the formal launch and formation of the Group on January 14th, we’ve now had our first meeting and are planning to reach out to the people of Allerdale. Over the course of the next 6-12 months the Group will begin local discussions on whether Allerdale could potentially be the right place for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) to safely dispose of radioactive waste for the long term.

The Working Group was formed as part of a nationwide search now underway to find a suitable location
to host a GDF, and establishing the Working Group is just the starting point in a long process that may take several years.

Starting this conversation with the people of Allerdale does not mean that it has been decided that a GDF will be built in Allerdale. In fact, wherever the facility eventually ends up, it can only be built where there is both a suitable site and the consent of local people.

A GDF could bring investment into the area

Over the course of the next few months the Group will talk with and listen to residents, businesses, community groups and others across Allerdale as it undertakes three main tasks: –

Begin the conversation with the people Allerdale to find out their views and answer their questions.

Identify and propose a possible search area or areas as a starting point for the GDF conversation.

Identify and recruit members for a potential community partnership, that could take the process further forward beyond the Working Group.

In addition to me as independent Chair, members of the Working Group include an independent facilitator, a company – GenR8North Ltd – that came forward and asked for Allerdale to be considered as a potential location, Radioactive Waste Management (RWM – who are tasked with implementing Government policy on radioactive waste including building and running the facility), and Allerdale Borough Council. From time to time other groups and individuals may be invited to join the group.

I recognise that radioactive waste is often misunderstood, complex and controversial and that we need to find ways to make the subject accessible so that people can make informed choices about whether they want a GDF to come to Allerdale. One of the main tasks we have taken on, therefore, is providing information via a variety of platforms where people can ask questions, tell us about their hopes and aspirations for the area and express their concerns. Our work to reach out to a variety of Allerdale audiences has just started and I hope to share more news about this in our next newsletter. Those of you in the business community may have noticed the introduction of our LinkedIn page where we hope to post information and connect with local Allerdale businesses.

A GDF could sustain
jobs, skills and economic
prosperity for the area

I see myself as the custodian of the process, making sure that it is transparent and inclusive, and enables people to engage with the Group, so that whether a GDF ends up in Allerdale or elsewhere, the people of Allerdale will collectively feel they had their chance to have their say.

The process to find a site and a willing host community for a GDF is ultimately based on the consent of the local community, and along with other members of the Working Group, I will ensure that local people have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and express their views.

We’ve already started by making information available through our website where you can find out more about a range of topics, including the science, safety and environmental aspects of a GDF, as well as details on how you can get involved.

The Covid-19 pandemic has of course impacted our ability to meet with you face-to-face so while this isn’t possible, we have the website and several other ways for you to get in touch. I hope that we can also arrange virtual meetings, so if you’re part of a community group or a local business and would like to find out more, we can still meet, thanks to digital technology. One channel we will roll out in the next few months will be a virtual interactive exhibition where you will be able to explore the subject of geological disposal, the work of the Group and what it could all mean for Allerdale. I hope to be able to give you news of the timing of this rollout in our next newsletter.

Where to find out more and how to get in touch
The Working Group will publish regular monthly e-newsletters like this to keep you up to date with the key activities and progress of the Group. In the meantime, there’s plenty of information already on our website, via our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) plus you can also email us at [email protected].

Alternatively, you can write to:
Allerdale GDF Working Group
Building 329 West
Thomson Avenue
Harwell Campus
Didcot
OX11 0GD