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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Cumbria councillors pull out of nuclear site search

COPELAND MP Jamie Reed will lobby the government to continue to look for a solution to nuclear waste storage in West Cumbria – despite councillors voting to pull the county out of the search for a repository site.

The executives of Cumbria County Council and Copeland and Allerdale Borough Councils met yesterday to cast their vote on whether to progress to stage four of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely process.

Copeland’s executive got the ball rolling, recording a ‘yes’ vote, with six councillors in favour and one opposed to moving ahead with the search.

But the decision was overshadowed as the county council’s cabinet opted to pull out of the process, with seven ‘no’ votes overruling the three in favour.

Allerdale was ruled out of the search by the county council, even before the borough council’s executive had met.

Despite the county council’s decision, Mr Reed, a passionate supporter of the repository search, said he would take Copeland’s case to parliament.

He said: “I welcome the clarity provided by today’s decisions.

“Copeland is now in an exceptionally strong position to take forward the important work of radioactive waste management for the UK.

“There is an unprecedented cross-party mandate for this, an undeniable environmental and moral case and an overwhelming economic case for taking this issue forward. Most importantly, doing so is in the best interests of the people of Copeland and West Cumbria.

“This work will be taken forward quickly.

“This may not be within the MRWS process, but Copeland now has a series of options open to it and I have already begun the process of exploring these for the benefit of my constituents with industry and with government.

“As one door shuts, another one opens, but this is a problem that will not go away.

“The people of West Cumbria, Copeland Borough Council and the Sellafield workforce and trade unions will work together to solve this problem.

“There’s a great deal of work to be done to take this issue forward and this has already begun.

“My constituents will welcome the opportunity to have greater control of their own destiny than before, and I look forward to the work ahead.”

Councillor Elaine Woodburn, leader of Copeland Borough Council, said: “We agreed to move to the next stage of the MRWS process, and have made this decision based on the evidence presented to us.

“Whilst we do not know whether this area will be suitable to host a repository, we thought it was appropriate to continue in the process to try and find out. The results of a statistically robust opinion poll showed that Copeland residents supported this decision.”

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