June 17, 2022 4.30 pm This story is over 24 months old

Nuclear storage dump developers look to reassure as campaigners fear exclusion

Campaigners say recruitment packs leave out critical members

Those behind potential plans for a nuclear storage facility in Theddlethorpe have said local people will be able to have their voices heard in response to opposition groups’ fears they will be left out.

The Theddlethorpe Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) Nuclear Working Group also denied members would be forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The Guardians Of The East Coast (GOTEC) and the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) groups have both expressed fears that the wording of the application process for a new Community Partnership will see locals left out of the process.

The partnership will examine the plans for the siting of the Geological Disposal Facility in Theddlethorpe in more detail and will create a vision for the long-term wellbeing of the community.

Not only that, but it would also oversee Community Investment Funding in the area with an initial sum of up to £1m per year available to fund initiatives to drive economic development, improve the local environment, or the community’s well-being.

Campaigners said the wording of the recruitment pack emphasised positivity around the GDF and thereby excluded those against the plans from being able to play a part.

Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) became part of Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) in January 2022 and is looking at potentially building a nuclear waste storage site at Theddlethorpe. | Photo: Kurnia Aerial Photography

Ken Smith, Chairman of GOTEC, said: “There is no guarantee that most of the members of that partnership are also members of the community affected by this project.

“Even representatives from the county and district councils could represent wards as far from the proposed site as possible.”

The groups felt the recruitment packs showed “people opposed to the project do not have the necessary attributes”.

“We are led to believe all successful candidates will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement which is odd coming from a company that says it is being open and transparent.”

Nearby residents have made their feelings clear about the plans.

The working group recently began recruiting and encouraging people to come forward to apply to be part of the community partnership.

A spokesperson said: “Our focus is now on preparations for launching a partnership, including starting the recruitment of new members.

“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.”

“There is no requirement for members to sign a non-disclosure agreement,” said the spokesperson.

“We expect to form the community partnership in the coming weeks, and more information will be shared shortly”.

The map of the Search Area.

Applicants will be interviewed by working group members including chairman Jon Collins, representatives from local councils and and GDF developer Nuclear Waste Services.

Following the formation of the community partnership it will then evolve its own membership.

It will include Lincolnshire County Council and East Lindsey District Council.

The GDF has two parts – a surface facility of around 1sq km where the waste would arrive, and deep below ground where the waste is disposed of. The area off the coast, deep beneath the seabed will be considered for the larger facility.