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Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group agrees to form Community Partnership to widen community engagement

June 14, 2022

Members of the Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group have agreed to form a Community Partnership. This will expand local engagement to find out if a multi-billion-pound project to safely manage some of the UK’s radioactive waste in a Geological Disposal Facility (known as a GDF) deep underground and beyond the coastline could be feasible and provide benefits to the area.

The Community Partnership will be set up within the next few weeks, at which point the Working Group, which was established in October 2021, will wind down.

The Working Group has now started the process of recruiting new members to the Community Partnership as well as stakeholder groups which will each focus on key topics, relevant to the local area.

Jon Collins, Chair of the Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group and Interim Chair of the Community Partnership said:

“Since the Working Group launched last year, we have had the chance to hear the views of hundreds of local people about the proposal to investigate building a GDF in the area. During that time the Working Group has also largely completed the three main tasks we were charged with at the start of this process, specifically;

  • to share information and to start a conversation about what it could mean to have a GDF sited in the area;
  • to identify a Search Area within which work to identify a suitable site will be focused,
  • and to set up a Community Partnership to further develop dialogue with the community.

“We hope to form the Community Partnership within the coming weeks and are looking for volunteers to get involved. Although the formal Partnership will have up to fifteen members drawn equally from local councils, local voluntary organisations and local businesses, sector forums and stakeholder groups will also be established to encourage wider public involvement and debate.”

The Community Partnership will focus on a Search Area covering the two electoral wards of Withern & Theddlethorpe, and Mablethorpe.  The former Theddlethorpe gas terminal will continue to be the area of focus for a possible surface reception facility, with planned underground facilities located in the deep rock layers beyond the coastline.

The Partnership will be a larger group of local people and organisations that will take over from the Working Group to consider the possibilities of the area hosting a GDF in more detail. This will run in parallel to work carried out by the GDF developer, Nuclear Waste Services, to better understand the suitability of local geology and infrastructure.

Once the Community Partnership is formed, £1m a year in Community Investment Funding will be available to support local initiatives that provide economic development opportunities, enhance the natural and built environment, or improve community wellbeing. This will rise to £2.5m per year if deep borehole investigations to assess the geology take place.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Community Partnership or one of the stakeholder groups can find out more information here.

The first round of interviews will take place before the end of this month.

The process of finding a site is likely to take many years and other areas of England, including west Cumbria, are also being considered. A GDF will only be built at Theddlethorpe if there is a willing host community and a suitable site which can be shown to be safe. If the local community doesn’t want it, it won’t be built.