The leader of Lincolnshire County Council said last week was the first time he had heard about the details of new plans to dispose of nuclear waste at a site near Mablethorpe, after opposition councillors accused his party of “secrecy” over the proposals.
Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) confirmed it is in “early discussions” with Lincolnshire County Council about using the former ConocoPhillips Gas Terminal in Theddlethorpe as a Geological Disposal Facility — but said no decisions had been made.
The move would see waste transported in and stored up to 1,000 metres below ground in solid rock.
Opposition councillors have hit out at Tory “secrecy” at the county council after the plans were revealed.
Labour members at district and county level said people would be “outraged” by the plans.
Labour Leader at Lincolnshire County Council Councillor Rob Parker said no briefings had taken place with his party or any other opposition.
“Even if the talks are at an early stage, there is still a clear need for the county council to identify and be open about the risks and rewards.
“One risk that stands out relates to the potential dangers over a long period of time of the transporting of nuclear waste to the site on our county roads.
“Whilst such a project would obviously have a significant impact on Theddlethorpe residents and early local public consultation is absolutely essential, this proposal is also a matter of major interest and concern to the wider Lincolnshire public.”
ELDC’s Labour Party has also issued a statement saying none of the “several alternative suggestions” for the site by local people had included the nuclear industry.
“Labour councillors are therefore appalled that a select few Tory councillors have dismissed all of those,” said the statement.
Councillor Graham Cullen said: “The winding down of the gas terminal started during my four year term as a county councillor, so I am bitterly disappointed that this idea was deliberately kept from me at the time!”
Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill said: “We received a presentation from RWM about this proposal last week, and it was taken to the Conservative group on Friday.
“This was the first time we have had any direct contact with them or detailed knowledge of the proposal. Although, I understand there have been some informal exploratory discussions by officers.
“RWM has said they will start a conversation with the local community so they can understand what is involved and make an informed choice. As I said last week, we currently have no opinion on the proposals.”
He previously said: “It’s about starting a conversation with local people, so they can understand what’s involved and what the future opportunities might be.”
The developers have said the multi-billion pound project could create thousands of jobs. Experts say the facility will be safe and meet environmental regulations.
Steve Reece, head of siting at RWM, said: “We would like to engage with the local community to hear their thoughts and views.
“The process to find a suitable GDF site ultimately requires a community to give clear consent [and] this project is totally unique in that the local community will have the final say,” he added.
ELDC’s leader Conservative Councillor Craig Leyland, told BBC Look North on Friday: “The reality is there are potentially many benefits but they’re also, obviously, it’s a very controversial idea.
“We need to have all that information so that our residents can really make an informed decision.
“You know, there’s, there’s massive national infrastructure issues here you know flood defence communications rail links and all the rest of it so there has to be carefully considered.”