Council’s executive votes in favour of joining ‘nuclear waste disposal’ working group

Senior Lincolnshire County Councillors have called for an end to the uncertainty around a potential nuclear storage site in Theddlethorpe to come as soon as possible.

Photos from Lincolnshire County Council's headquarters earlier today. (Photo: LDRS)

The authority’s executive voted in favour of joining a working group, installing council leader Councillor Martin Hill as their representative.

During the meeting, councillors expressed some scepticism over the benefits which Radioactive Waste Management (RWM), the government organisation behind the plans, claimed it would bring – including new jobs and investment in the area’s infrastructure.

Councillors also claimed the plans needed to have full public support before they moved ahead, with East Lindsey Councillor Danny McNally saying there needed to be a full first-past-the-post election.

Photos from Lincolnshire County Council's headquarters earlier today. (Photo: LDRS)

He added: “A clearly scheduled timeline should also be sought with at least six months notice to give everyone time to get out to communicate and campaign.

“If the vote comes in as a no, there needs to be a guarantee from the council that they will fully support the will of the community of Theddlethorpe, or anywhere within Lincolnshire.”

Following the meeting, Councillor Martin Hill said: “The working group is an information gathering exercise.

“Participating in the group does not mean the council wants the GDF at the Theddlethorpe site – in fact we currently have not taken a view on this.

Photos from Lincolnshire County Council's headquarters earlier today. (Photo: LDRS)

“Our decision to get involved recognises that ultimately it will be a community decision as to whether a GDF should be built.

“The council’s involvement is therefore to make sure that residents and businesses have access to information they need, and to help reflect their views.”

As the meeting was ongoing, protesters again gathered outside the council offices in a bid to dissuade members from joining the working group or supporting the plans at all.

They sang a number of thematically-changed covers.

Photos from Lincolnshire County Council's headquarters earlier today. (Photo: LDRS)

Following the meeting, campaigner Ken Smith said it was “obvious that the decision was being driven through”.

“So it’ll happen, but I’ve got to make my voice heard, I’ve got to do my part, where my kids or grandchildren come and say, what do you do grandpa? Then, at least I can tell them I did my best to stop it.”

Campaigners, he said, had a “great deal of scepticism” about the proposals and the council’s actions moving forward, adding that they had “done their homework”.

Following the executive’s decision earlier today, Steve Reece, Head of Siting at RWM, said: “We welcome today’s decision by Lincolnshire County Council to accept the invitation to join a Working Group.

Photos from Lincolnshire County Council's headquarters earlier today. (Photo: LDRS)

“We will now focus on the work required to enable the Working Group to be formed as soon as possible, so it can begin engagement with people living around Theddlethorpe and surrounding areas.

“Establishing the Working Group is just the starting point for engaging with the local community in a process that will take several years.

“It’s about starting a conversation with local people and enabling them to find out more about a Geological Disposal Facility, explore the issues, and have their questions answered.

“Following Lincolnshire County Council’s decision today, we will be inviting Theddlethorpe Parish Council to become a member of the group. East Lindsey District Council has already been invited.

“We are aiming to have the Working Group up and running during October, at which point a programme of local engagement will be announced”.