Agenda and minutes

Wednesday 30th January, 2013 3.00 pm

Venue: Theatre - The Wave Centre, Maryport. View directions

Contact: Sarah Harrington  01900 702554

No. Item


Procedural Rule Number 22.2


Councillors Hansen, Finlay, Gainford, P Kendall, Pugmire, Robertson and C Tibble attended the meeting under Procedural Rule Number 22.2.



Suspension of Procedural Rule - Public Questions


Members agreed to suspend Public Access Rule 24.7(d) for agenda item 3, to enable all questions to be asked and answered during the meeting.



Declaration of Interest

Councillors/Staff to give notice of any disclosable pecuniary interest, other registrable interest or any other interest and the nature of that interest relating to any item on the agenda in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct.



4.  Managing Radioactive Waste Safely.

  Councillor Alan Smith; Other Registrable Interest; Due to his being a member of the Community Union.


4.  Managing Radioactive Waste Safely.

  Councillor Barbara Cannon; Other Registrable Interest; Due to her being a member of the GMB Union.


4.  Managing Radioactive Waste Safely.

  Councillor Carl Holding; Other Registrable Interest; Due to his being a member of the Prospect Union.


4.  Managing Radioactive Waste Safely.

  Councillor Carni McCarron-Holmes; Other Registrable Interest; Due to her being a member of the UNITE Union.


4.  Managing Radioactive Waste Safely.

  Councillor Mark Fryer; Other Registrable Interest; Due to his being a member of the GMB Union.


4.  Managing Radioactive Waste Safely.

  Councillor Philip Tibble; Other Registrable Interest; Due to his being a member of the UNISON Union.




To answer questions from members of the public – 2 days notice of which must have been given in writing or by electronic mail.


John Dunn asked the following question :

'Petitions have demonstrated that over 3500 people in the Solway and 14000 others object to continuing the MRWS process to stage 4.  A significant majority of parish councils are against a repository.  There is clear evidence of growing public opposition and anger throughout Allerdale and Cumbria.  In the light of all this many believe that the MORI POLL conducted on behalf of the MRWS partnership has been overtaken by more recent opinion and is now not a reliable indicator of the opinion of the community.  Will this council now reconsider the weight of argument that they attach to the MORI poll and give proper weight to more recent indicators that the people of Allerdale are not in favour of continuing to stage 4, as has been suggested, and are not willing to accept a repository in Allerdale or anywhere else in Cumbria?’


Councillor Smith responded as follows :


‘Let me start by saying that the gathering of public opinion was a very important area of work undertaken by the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership. To assist the Executive to make this decision, the Partnership undertook 3 rounds of pubic and stakeholder engagement which included a total of 4 opinion surveys.

As well as seeking people’s overall opinion as to whether West Cumbria or Allerdale should participate in the process, the public and stakeholder work received a number of views which influenced the work programme of the partnership over the 3 ½ years that it operated.  Key messages, like gaining trust, clarifying decision making, being rigorous and securing community benefits were all taken on board following the initial round of public and stakeholder engagement.

The last round of public and stakeholder engagement was the formal consultation, including the published consultation document asking for views and feedback from the public.  I urge anyone with an interest in this area to read the Public and Stakeholder Engagement Round 3 report on the MRWS website to see the extent to which the engagement was conducted. In total 1,410 responses were received from 2,356 people or organisations.

The MORI Poll was undertaken as a part of this consultation, and the headline results are outlined in the Executive report today. The MORI Poll was commissioned as a statistically representative survey of the population of Allerdale, and the Partnership hired two expert reviewers to check the methodology and work undertaken.

I welcome the petitions that people have signed up to recently, as they also provide an indicator of the views of those people.  A number of Members of the public and groups have also written recently to myself and the other Members of the Executive, and their views will be considered, along with the numerous strands of work of the Partnership, prior to the decision being taken today.’


Don Graham asked the following question :


The MRWS process set up the Brand Management Group to work out a brand protection strategy for the Cumbria  ...  view the full minutes text for item 492.


Managing Radioactive Waste Safely pdf icon PDF 311 KB

Additional documents:


The subject of the decision :


The Head of Community Services submitted a report which sought members to consider participation in Stage 4 of the Governments process for Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS).


Members noted the details of the report and the contents of the West Cumbria MRWS Partnership Final Report, as well as the many views that had been expressed to them from both Councillors and members of the public.


Councillor Heaslip said that the waste was already stored in the area, on the surface at Sellafield.  He thought that it should not be left for future generations to have to clean up and there were options of what to do with it, such as building new surface stores, but in time these would decay as well, so an underground repository was an option that should be considered. 

Councillor Heaslip said he wouldn’t vote for large scale excavation of either Ennerdale or the Solway Plain, but he thought that doing nothing was not an option.  He said that he thought the only responsible option was to remain engaged with Government in the process so that a consensus on the geology of the area could be sought, to know one way or the other whether or not there was any suitable geology in West Cumbria. 


Councillor Holding said that he thought that managing radioactive waste was the whole country’s responsibility, not just that of West Cumbria, and asked Councillor Smith about the right of withdrawal.


Councillor Smith said that he had campaigned to get the right of withdrawal strengthened by ensuring it was in primary legislation, which would happen within 18 months, and assured members that if after the conclusion of Stage 4 it was proven that there was no suitable geology, then the process would end.  He also said that Stage 4 would take 4 years to complete, and the primary legislation including the statutory right of withdrawal would be in place in 18 months.  Councillor Smith said that it would be irresponsible for the current situation regarding the storage of waste to remain, and he would not vote for anything that put people at risk.


Councillor Cannon said that she was also concerned about the right of withdrawal, and asked Councillor Smith to speak to Government to speed the primary legislation up.  She thanked the people who had asked questions and sent letters and e-mails to her regarding MRWS and said that she had been prevented from entering into any dialogue with people regarding their concerns because of the rules regarding pre-determination.  Councillor Cannon asked what a Community Siting Partnership was, and who the ‘community’ would be, and it was explained that it would be a decision for members as to who would become part of such a partnership. 


Councillor McCarron-Holmes said that the right of withdrawal was something that she too wanted to see at every step of the process, and that Stage 4 of the process must be the desk based study, and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 493.