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Radioactive waste dump plans rejected

Councillors have thrown out controversial proposals to build the UK’s first purpose-built radioactive dump.

Cumbria County Council’s development control and regulation committee rejected an application by Sita subsidiary Endecom UK to use a 170-acre site to dispose of low-level and very low-level radioactive waste.

Councillors said they rejected the plans because:

  • “There is no need for such a facility until at least around 2030.”
  • “Alternative sites … have not been fully assessed.”
  • “The development is against waste planning guidance on all communities taking responsibility for their own waste and would lead to unnecessary road transport miles.”
  • “The development would have an unacceptable impact upon a UK Priority Habitat and a County Wildlife Site and no adequate mitigation or compensation measures had been considered.”
  • “The development would have an adverse impact visually on local residents and on the surrounding landscape.”

Councillor Lawrence Fisher, chairman of the committee, said: “Using Keekle Head as a site for low-level radioactive waste is the wrong solution.”

Approving the plans would “send completely the wrong message out about how communities in West Cumbria interact with the nuclear industry and how waste needs to be dealt with close to the place it is produced”, he added.

Councillor Tim Knowles, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for environment added: “Leftfield applications from private sector developers spotting a commercial opportunity without due regard for local people or the wider waste hierarchy are not helpful at all.”

Phil Holland, decommissioning development manager for Endecom, told local paper Whitehaven News: “This is a disappointing outcome as we firmly believe there is a long-term need for such a facility.

“The development would have little or no impact on the local community and help to restore an industrial site.

“We will take stock of the decision before deciding how best to proceed.”

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