Who’s in the Working Group?
Cumbrian based company, Genr8 North Ltd, who specialise in land development and regeneration, are one of the members of the Allerdale Working Group. Following the announcement almost two years ago that RWM were inviting approaches from interested parties to come forward to discuss the potential for a GDF to be sited in their locality, the company met RWM with a proposal to consider whether or not Allerdale had the potential to host a GDF.
Andy Ross from Genr8 North, explains why they decided to get involved in the GDF process.
“If you look at the GDF project, it’s unique. Yes, it’s a massive civil engineering project, but it’s also a project that’s purpose is to deal with an existing ‘problem’ that for us as Cumbrians, is right here on our doorstep – the issue of what to do with our higher activity radioactive waste.”
Another thing that’s unique about GDF is that it’s a project that wherever it is eventually built will bring long-term economic benefits, creating thousands of local skilled jobs for over 100 years.
We originally came forward with a proposal to consider West Cumbria as a whole, although following our meeting with RWM, we agreed that we would be willing to be considered as Interested Parties in both Allerdale and Copeland. We are now members of both Working Groups. We didn’t have a specific site in mind, but wanted to know that if and when the UK finally decides a location for a GDF, that West Cumbria and Allerdale get a fair chance to be involved in the discussion and that any decision, either for or against, is based on accurate, factual analysis of the geological conditions, and crucially, the views of local people.
The Working Group is here to listen to the views of the residents and businesses of Allerdale and to ensure that they have a voice. We’re also here to present the facts and to give people the opportunity to learn about geological disposal, ask questions and to understand what a GDF, if it was to be built here would mean for our futures.
Genr8 North’s opinion is that if we have high level radioactive waste already stored temporarily in west Cumbria, why would we not look for a more permanent and safe storage or disposal solution here also, and keep the jobs and economic regeneration that would no doubt result from such a large project. West Cumbria has the knowledge and experience, but I think we have been far too defensive about ‘the problem’ to date and the GDF is the opportunity to tackle it head on and find that solution once and for all.
We’re just one voice on the Working Group. We’re not the experts in geology, and we as a company can’t speak for local people. For us it’s about dealing with a problem that needs to be dealt with and exploring the economic potential a GDF could bring. Our view is rather than not be involved and ignore the problem, leaving it for someone else to deal with, why shouldn’t we take a robust look at the issues in detail and make a decision, either way, with all of the facts in front of us?
I think we owe it to our future generations to be involved in the long-term sustainable solution for this waste. It’s a legacy we simply have to deal with and surface storage as we have today, is only temporary and is not satisfactory – why would we accept that position in Allerdale? With the gradual decommissioning of Sellafield, we as a community need to think about the long-term impact of that and think carefully about what the future could look like.
I live in Allerdale and consider myself lucky to call one of the most beautiful places in England my home. We were clear, as the Working Group was formed, that the exclusion of the Lake District National Park was the right thing to do. There are many other special places in Allerdale and the Working Group will give careful consideration to these as it starts to look for what is termed a ‘Search Area’.
The Working Group is here to start that conversation, provide information and listen to people’s views. I think the fact we have an independent Chair in place is very powerful and will ensure that the process remains truly independent. I would encourage anyone with the slightest interest in how the UK deals with its radio-active waste – and surely that’s all of us – to visit the Working Group’s website, sign up to the newsletter and follow us on Social Media to find out all of the ways in which to participate in the conversation.