September 8, 2021 9.37 am This story is over 32 months old

Nuclear storage dump campaigners to protest at Lincolnshire County Council meeting

Councillors set to vote on community working group

Campaigners fighting a multi-billion pound nuclear waste storage facility in Theddlethorpe are planning to protest a Lincolnshire County Council meeting in a bid to stop plans moving forward.

A report before the authority’s Environment and Executive Committee on Tuesday will recommend LCC joins a working group with Radioactive Waste Management and East Lindsey District Council, to explore plans to build the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) on the site of the former Theddlethorpe Gas Terminal.

However, those behind the “No Nuke Dump in Lincolnshire Group” are planning to stage a peaceful protest of at least 30 people outside the council chamber ahead of the meeting.

Lead campaigner Sara Bright said LCC did not have to join the working group but feared things were “further on than hoped”.

The group fears that, despite promises the councils can withdraw at anytime if they wish, goalposts “will shift and the right to withdraw will vanish” in the future.

“If RWM give millions over the years and find that site to be suitable according to their standards, do LCC really think they will be able to withdraw?” she asked.

“We need to hold [Councillor Martin] Hill [LCC’s leader] to an early referendum… before any community partnership is formed.”

County Councillors are set to vote on plans next Tuesday.

As part of its role, a working group would help to establish a search area to carry out more feasibility studies and would engage with local communities.

It would be followed by a Community Partnership, which would bring on board representatives from other areas such as agriculture and tourism.

The report before the meeting said that joining a working group “does not mean that Lincolnshire County Council supports the concept of a geological disposal facility”.

“It means that LCC wishes to understand more about the investment that the proposal could lead to and that LCC wishes to understand more about the risk and implications of the proposal,” it said.

Ahead of the meeting, committee chairman Councillor Ray Wootten said on Monday the authority “currently have no opinion on the proposals which is why we need to see more detailed information”.

“It’s essential that RWM fully engage with the local community so they can understand what is involved and make an informed choice,” he said.

“No investment in any facility would be imposed on the area and it would ultimately be down to the local community to decide.”

Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) is looking at potentially building a nuclear waste storage site at Theddlethorpe. | Photo: Kurnia Aerial Photography

A media briefing on Monday revealed that communities in line for a GDF could receive up to £30million in funding before the plans even move forward.

As part of its work with local people around potential plans to build the UK’s first Geological Disposal Facility in Theddlethorpe, Radioactive Waste Management could hand out the money over the next 15 to 20 years — with £1million a year allocated while local studies are carried out, and £2.5million a year while drilling boreholes and further exploring the geology of the area.

The money would be given prior to planning permission being sought and RWM bosses said that if local authorities changed their minds at a later date there would be no repercussions.

The government has also confirmed it would need at least one of either Lincolnshire County Council or East Lindsey Council on board to move ahead with the plans.