OPEN LETTER from Eleanor Bull of No Nuclear Waste Dumping
to John Leech, MP for Withington, Manchester, UK.
Infrastructure Planning (Radioactive Waste Geological Disposal Facilities) Order 2015
Motion to Consider
2.30pm, Tuesday March 10th 2015
COMMITTEE ROOM 12 – Palace of Westminster.
Dear John Leech,
Hi there. I am a resident of Old Moat and feel extremely strongly about a Statutory Instrument that was laid before parliament Jan 12th 2015. The exploratory boreholes needed and the actual siting of a permanent Nuclear Dump (Geological Disposal Facility – GDF) currently are subject to all levels of government planning scrutiny.
Cumbria County Council have already said no three times to the siting of a GDF, as the scientific study (Nirex Study) concluded the local geology and hydrology were unsuitable.
Rather than accept this legitimate decision, the government published plans most recently in the July 2014 White Paper ‘Implementing Geological Disposal’ to instead move the goalposts.
Whilst claiming throughout the White Paper that a ‘voluntarist approach’ will be taken, there were clues that if this approach was to fail then the government would instead look to alter the 2008 Planning Act and include the siting of a GDF (and the exploratory boreholes) as a new category of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. And this is indeed the situation we now find ourselves in.
As I’m sure you are aware, as NSIP, this new legislation would remove planning consent authority from the local and county councils and give it to the Secretary of State.
On Jan 12th 2015, this motion to consider was proposed by Baroness Verma:
It was discussed by various Lords in the Moses Room and a full transcript can be found here:
I firmly believe this is too great an erosion of the democratic powers of local governance, who are representative of the best interests of their electorate. A point echoed most eloquently by Lord Liddle, who is also a member of Cumbria County Council, and he articulated the following on behalf of his constituents in the Moses Room last month:
“I do not believe it is right that the Government should be able to impose what we all colloquially refer to as a nuclear dump on Cumbria, regardless of the views of the whole Cumbria community and its county council, which is essentially what the Government are trying to do.
As a democrat and a Cumbria citizen, I just cannot support the current proposal that the final decision is taken out of the hands of anyone in Cumbria and left to the Secretary of State.”
I believe that it is wrong for us to endorse an order that basically gives the Secretary of State the power to do what he wants and ride roughshod over the elected, democratic representatives of the county. That is why I would like to see this order withdrawn.”
The Government’s motives for moving the goalposts are not based on scientific fact or any other form of investigation as to the facility itself, but in direct response to Cumbria’s valid and sound scientifically-based rejection of this untried and untested development underground, within the very Earth that sustains life itself. Do you want highly volatile, carcinogenic, nuclear waste buried by the source of our water supply, by the same cowboys who have poisoned vast swathes of the United States with Hydraulic Fracturing and Nuclear Waste Disposal – frequently both?!
Please see this article; I have personally checked the patents that match this activity:
My months of reading academic papers and reports from the NDA, RWMD, NuLeaf, CoRWM, etc. and the industry itself has taught me that the Research and Development (R&D) simply does not exist to justify calling a Geological Disposal Facilty (GDF) a tangible ‘thing’ that could then be included as a named category of engineering project; whether it’s in the in the national interest or not!
In this brand new field (especially the method of Deep Borehole Disposal, popular with academics from Sheffield Material Science Department and Durham University) that R&D consists more frequently of a computer-modeled projection of expected results, rather than analysis resulting from actual data.
These GDF plans (that I most recently read about in the first ever DECOVALEX 2015 report, which I am not permitted to re-publish or copy quotes from, without the express permission from the NDA) are simply nowhere near ready to suggest that an actual plan to build a GDF (possibly using the Deep Borehole Disposal method) is something that the Secretary of State could rightfully sanction.
As you are aware, the government’s stance on Fracking has proven that they prefer spin to scientific fact AND that the revolving door between the politicians/law-makers and the industry itself have lead to some highly dubious decisions. Last week seasoned environmental researcher, campaigner, author and former engineer, Paul Mobbs, took a dossier of evidence to Downing Street to perform a Citizen’s Arrest on four senior members of the Cabinet for their role in what Paul says he can prove is criminal negligence relating to regulating fracking. This is a very good reflection of how strongly a huge section of the British public feels about protecting our environment and making the switch to green energy now, not later. There is no planet B.
This proposed amendment to existing legislation is directly linked to the next generation of Nuclear Power generation (Moorside and Hinkley C) as the Government was required to have a ‘plan in place’ for the existing waste before it could get the green light for these projects. May I ask, what is your stance on Nuclear Power? I used to love seeing the signs when you entered Manchester that said, “Nuclear-Free City,” do you remember those?
I must thank you very warmly for voting against the Infrastructure Bill. There is in fact, a huge possibility that the ‘exploratory drill holes’ dug for fracking could now be used to site a GDF. Certainly, “the data gathered would also assist plans to dispose of nuclear waste underground,” as reported by Damian Carrington, in The Guardian November 22nd 2014 (see paragraph 8)
Do you agree that local councils have a democratic duty to represent their constituents on planning matters as important as this, and that it’s an entirely different proposition than the siting of a new trunk road?!
From the House of Lords:
“The Committee has considered the following instrument and has determined that the special attention of the House should be drawn to it on the ground specified:
- DECC has explained the basis on which, in the light of these figures, the consultation summary therefore reported that “about half of the respondents to this question agreed or partly agreed with the proposed approach to land use planning for a GDF in England” and that “a minority disagreed with the proposals”: the latter statement was included in the EM. We would point out that, even by combining the percentage of respondents who “agreed” with that of respondents who “partly agreed”, no more than 49% of respondents agreed or partly agreed, and that this is also a minority of respondents. The EM would have given a more accurate picture of the results of consultation if it had made clear this relatively modest level of support for the proposal, as well as referring to minority disagreement.”
The Parliamentary Liaison Adviser told us it was quite rare to get a comment like that from a scrutiny Committee and I am hopeful this is something you could use to challenge the passage of this draft order?
My personal opinion is that the Siting Review consultation (December 2013) was NOT widely known about. If you contrast the number of respondents 185 in total, compared to the tens of thousands that opposed Infrastructure Bill that was similarly offensive to the very notion of democracy itself, coupled with my own experience of seeing people react to you explaining where these plans are at (it makes people cry) I would argue that this consultation was not grounds to create new legislation and that DECC has indeed manipulated the figures to show a false result, as picked up on by the Secondary Scrutiny Committee above and spelled out in detail here by Professor David Smythe: http://www.davidsmythe.org/nuclear/documents.htm
There are many other arguments against this proposal, which if you are interested I put into a fully referenced letter to the Lords, also published here:
Would you please get in touch with me to let me know your position on this matter?
Could you also let me know if you plan on attending the Delegated Committee meeting, Committee Room 12, Palace of Westminster, 2.30pm, Tuesday 10th March.
I sincerely hope you appreciate how strongly I and many others feel about this issue and it would be very heartening indeed to have a Member of Parliament on our side, advocating for us.
Aside from asking you to represent us, I also need help understanding the due process about the passage of this Statutory Instrument; occasional help deciphering the language and terms of Parliamentary legislation and also may require legal advice to ascertain whether the Primary Scrutiny Committee (Lords) were correct to agree that the powers of the Parent Act (Planning Act 2008) were sufficient to justify transferring this decision over to the Secretary of State’s office.
If you do decide to take this on and advocate against this offence to our democracy, I have a wealth of research at your disposal that has been double-checked by our fantastic team of mums and dads. You would be amazed how much time we are dedicating to preserve our democratic right to have a say in this decision that will have repercussions for the next 400,000 years.
One such fact being that the Government’s solicitors (Pinsent Mason) advertised and hosted a “Master Class” in ‘how to get your application for Nuclear Decommissioning classed as NSIP’ on Feb 10th 2015 BEFORE this issue had been heard by the Lords, and ahead of its first hearing in the Commons this coming Tuesday.
I’ve done very well to use appropriate language throughout this letter to you, but I have to say that on that last point of hosting a “Masterclass” in Nuclear Disposal NSIP before it’s become law – they are taking the piss