Allerdale GDF Community Partnership

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Announcing Changes to our Search Area

January 13, 2023

We are today announcing changes to our ‘Search Area’ which will come into effect from 1st April 2023.



























The Search Area is the area on land within which Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) will look for potential sites for surface facilities to support the development of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) deep in suitable rock beyond the coast of Allerdale.

A GDF is an underground facility designed to safely and securely dispose of higher activity radioactive waste deep underground.

We have made these changes based on readily available information which is published in the Search Area Evaluation Report and available on our website under ‘Finding a Suitable Site’.

This means that we will be reducing the size of the search area and, because of the policy requirement to match boundaries with electoral wards, have decided to introduce this on 1st April 2023 to align with the new Cumberland Authority.

The new search area will comprise of the eight Cumberland wards of Dearham & Broughton; Maryport North, Maryport South, Harrington, Moorclose & Moss Bay, Seaton, St John’s & Great Clifton, St Michaels.

NWS will carry out evaluations of any potential sites within this Search Area using the published siting factors that cover Safety and Security, Community, Environment, Engineering Feasibility, Transport and Value for Money. Further evaluations may take place in the future as the programme increases in detail and complexity.

Allerdale GDF Community Partnership Chair, Mary Bradley, said: “There’s on-going work by Nuclear Waste Services to better understand the suitability of the area. The Partnership has considered a range of information, this included data about the geology, physical features and environmental factors of the area and the adjacent inshore area, off the coast.”

“In the coming days I will be writing to local residents providing details of what these changes mean and what are the next steps, including further local engagement, including an exhibition in March.”

“We’ve had some great engagement with local people over the past year and have been able to distribute £1 million to 28 community projects. As our second year begins, I would like to thank those who’ve joined the conversation so far and encourage others to get involved in the conversation about whether or a GDF is right for the area.”

A Community Partnership is a long-term group made up of local people and organisations, the GDF developer (Nuclear Waste Services) and Allerdale Borough Council and exists to take forward discussions with the community about the possibility of hosting a GDF in Allerdale.

Construction of a GDF requires both a suitable site and willing community. If a suitable site is eventually found in Allerdale – which could take 10-15 years – a Test of Public Support (such as a poll or referendum that gives people a direct say) would be held with those living in the wards affected. Without public support the project would not go ahead.

We will be continuing our work to engage with local people, provide information and answer questions, and anyone with comments or concerns is encouraged to contact us on 0300 369 0000 or email