Letter Tim Knowles: Mr David Taylor from Westnewton wrote (attacking the nuclear waste disposal “Anti Brigade” who are “trying to frighten people” (The Whitehaven News letters, December 30). My letters and comments on the subject probably qualify me as one of those “Antis”, despite my 20 years both as BNFL’s works secretary/head of corporate affairs and my work assisting Nirex well before my retirement. I would make a few comments on Mr Taylor’s assertions plus some of my own. 1. In 2013 the county council cabinet, which had a Conservative majority, voted against my proposal as the then Labour cabinet member for environment, that West Cumbria move to Stage 4 research into the repository project. 2. Mr Taylor’s “cavern” or deep underground workings, are actually expected to be the size of a small city – that is (or should be) uncontested. 3. Those workings, if undersea, could stretch out from the Cumbrian coast up to 22 kilometres. An NDA graphic detailing that was published in The Whitehaven News. 4. I led the county council’s involvement in the “West Cumbria Managing Nuclear Waste Safely Partnership” for some years. After my Cabinet defeat over Stage 4 I felt I had to resign as the member responsible for environmental issues as a matter of principle. 5. That did not mean I was totally supportive of the project, in fact I wanted to use Stage 4 both to discover the truth about the area’s geology and hydrogeology and force the Conservative government into legally-binding commitments over realistic levels of compensation for Cumbria, i.e. at least half a billion pounds, much of it paid in the early years. One of the major reasons for my failure to persuade Cllr Eddie Martin and others was that few people, even Tory councillors, believed that government would be honest about the science and also give us a fair financial deal. Subsequent actions by the government and NDA caused my own view to change radically and I accepted that Cllr Martin and others were (and still are) correct in not trusting the basis of the entire Higher Level Nuclear Waste Repository project.
Whitehaven News 9th Jan 2021 read more »