Today, the Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group has been established in east Lincolnshire to start the process of finding out if a multi-billion-pound national infrastructure project to safely manage some of the UK’s radioactive waste in a Geological Disposal Facility (known as a GDF) could be feasible and provide benefits to the area.
The former Theddlethorpe gas terminal will be an initial area of focus for a possible surface reception facility with potential for the underground facilities to be located in the deep rock layers beyond the coastline.
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, explore the issues, and begin to have their questions answered.
Any decisions about whether to support a development will be much later following more detailed engagement through a Community Partnership and will need explicit community support. This first step is about fact-finding and beginning engagement without commitment.
Two similar Working Groups are already established in Cumbria.
Jon Collins, independent Chair of the Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group, said: “The GDF is a project of national importance and it’s unique in that it can only proceed with two things – a suitable site and a willing community”.
Wherever the GDF is built, it could be a major boost to an area’s future prosperity, skill base of its workforce, and unlock major investment such as infrastructure.
Jon Collins was previously leader of Nottingham City Council. He added: “It’s an emotive and complex topic and I’m committed to making sure people have access to information and that their voices are heard. I’m not here to say that a GDF is the right or wrong thing for this area, I’m here to ensure that people in the area around Theddlethorpe not only have access to information but can raise their issues and concerns”.
“Throughout my time on the council I worked to ensure that local people knew about and then had the chance to decide what happened where they lived. As independent Chair I see it as my role to support the start of a long-term process that can make sure the same happens here.”
The Working Group has three main jobs to do. Firstly, it will start the conversation with local communities about what the GDF siting process involves. Secondly it will identify a Search Area, which will be the area within which RWM could subsequently undertake feasibility studies. The final task is to set up the longer-term partnership of local authorities, local organisations, community groups and RWM, called a Community Partnership.
The Working Group members include independent Chair Jon Collins, an independent facilitator, Lincolnshire County Council, Theddlethorpe Parish Council and Radioactive Waste Management (RWM – a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority). East Lindsey District Council has also been invited to join the group and is currently considering this.
The Working Group will now start a programme of engagement with local people on this website with information about the GDF project, details of local engagement events and how to get in touch.
Information leaflets will be sent to local households in the coming days and a programme of walk-in meetings with the Working Group team will start from 27th October. Information packs are also available. Details of these events are available on the website or by calling 0300 369 0000.