September 14, 2021 1.06 pm This story is over 25 months old

Protesters warn nuclear storage plans could kill tourism as council moves forward with talks

Campaigners warn of “Sword of Damocles” for tourism industry

Protesters are unhappy after county councillors agreed to talk to the government company behind a potential nuclear waste disposal site in Lincolnshire.

Lincolnshire County Council’s Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday morning agreed to join a working group to look at Radioactive Waste Management’s (RWM) potential plans for a Geological Disposal Facility in Theddlethorpe.

Campaigners against the plans who gathered outside the council before the meeting, however, are not happy with the decision and have said moving the plans forward creates uncertainty for local businesses and residents.

Speaking during the meeting, campaigner Ken Smith warned the proposals could put people off coming to visit the coast, and said RWM could walk away at any moment leaving tourism businesses with a “Sword of Damocles” hanging over their head.

“The proposal is not a matter of we could lose tourism, and gain extra jobs… it’s a matter of we could lose tourism and gain absolutely nothing,” he said.

“To my view… you’re taking a huge gamble and it’s not one I will be prepared to take myself.”

However councillors, who voted by a majority to join a working group to take the plans forward, felt they would be at a greater disadvantage and be left unable to influence any future decisions if they refused to join the group.

Councillor Ian Fleetwood said: “It’s far better to be inside the tent, gaining information and looking in, rather than being on the outside looking in.

“If you were on the outside… it would be very hard to go in and get that information.”

Councillor Ian Carrington feared “what would happen if we do not join”.

“I feel very passionately we do need to be there to support our residents when they need us most,” he said.

Speaking following the meeting, chairman Councillor Ray Wootten said: “Today demonstrates there are concerns, however, we haven’t got a view whether we support it or not.

“We made the right decision today… it’s having a voice and being able to speak on their behalf.”

Campaigner Sara Bright said she understood the council’s position, but said if the council had not voted to go ahead, then she felt RWM could not move forward themselves.

She added the campaginers would be back on October 5 for further protests and would be taking legal advice.