Nuclear waste disposal: Campaigners claim initial lack of information led to ‘anxiety and confusion’

Campaigners on the coast have hit back against the ‘myths and misconceptions’ shared by the Theddlethorpe Working Group, regarding proposals for a radioactive waste disposal site to be located near the village.

Some of the campaigners against the Theddlethorpe plans in November. EMN-220125-171054001
Some of the campaigners against the Theddlethorpe plans in November. EMN-220125-171054001

The lists of ‘myths and misconceptions’ was published in the Louth Leader newspaper earlier this month, and was published on our website earlier this evening.

Sara Bright, writing in response on behalf of the Guardians of the East Coast (GOTEC), suggested that the ‘limited information’ initially made available by the Government and councillors had led to ‘huge levels of distrust’ and ‘anxiety and confusion’ for residents.

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Sara added that an ‘information void’ lasted for several months between the plans being revealed last July, and the commencement of community engagement events in late October, which has added to confusion and led to residents seeking out information themselves.

Sara wrote: “It is not surprising that residents, when faced with an issue as big as this one, have attempted to find information for themselves from the internet when support from the agency responsible has been minimal.”

On confirmation that an exclusion zone will not be in place around the proposed GDF surface facility site, Sara continued: “Whilst GOTEC welcomes confirmation that an exclusion zone will not be required, we feel that it is unfortunate that there was such a lengthy delay in this information being received and that an earlier sharing of information could have reduced at least some of the distress caused to residents.”

Sara added: “GOTEC also welcome the confirmation from RWM that only UK radioactive wastes will be disposed of at the site.

“However, we note that though this may be current government policy, there is no guarantee that this will continue to be the case over the long timescales that this work will continue and it cannot be entirely disregarded that future global events may dictate a worldwide change in policy on this issue. It is important that the risk to our future generations is not increased and that, if this process continues, this promise is kept by current and future governments alike.

“GOTEC are pleased to see confirmation that the money which is to be made available under the Community Investment Fund should the process proceed to the Community Partnership being established, will be for community projects and is not intended to enable councils to fill shortfalls in their budgets.

“GOTEC has found that it has in fact been a common misconception from members of the public and counsellors alike that this money could be allocated to infrastructure projects such as road and rail links and repairing potholes.

“To be clear, Community Investment Funding is intended to fund projects, schemes or initiatives that improve community well-being, enhance the natural and built environment including cultural and natural heritage or provide economic development opportunities, such as job creation and skills development.”

With regard to whether the plans should even go ahead, Sara concluded: “Public opinion is said to be the determinative factor as to whether siting can go ahead in an area rather than the geology itself, which only has to be “suitable” as opposed to the most suitable.

“The public view is to be established, possibly in several years’ time, by a Test of Public Support. GOTEC is of the view that this is also a promise which the government must be held to and that a GDF must not be simply imposed upon an unwilling community. Further, the views of those people most affected by the GDF, its neighbours, should be given the most weight.”

Sara reiterated that the GOTEC campaign does not believe that Lincolnshire is either the best, or a suitable, location for the proposed GDF.