May 11, 2023 9.30 am This story is over 10 months old

Nuclear storage dump campaigners claim victory in local elections

Call for government to honour wishes

Anti-nuclear campaigners have claimed victory in Theddlethorpe after last week’s district and parish council elections.

Opposition councillors, including independent Travis Hesketh, gained a majority of seats with a high voter turnout.

The campaign’s success saw voters “overwhelmingly reject” Nuclear Waste Service’s proposal to build a Geological Disposal Facility beneath the former Conoco gas terminal.

Prior to the election, anti-dump candidates were elected unopposed for eight of the ten available seats on Theddlethorpe Parish Council.

The Guardians of the East Coast campaigners have also claimed support from neighbouring towns such as Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea, and Trusthorpe.

Ken Smith, chairperson for GOTEC, praised the residents for protesting through the ballot box.

“We now call upon Lincolnshire County Council and East Linsey District Council to honour the people’s decision by withdrawing from the so-called community partnership,” he said.

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities group has also backed the campaigners. Councillor David Blackburn said, “When it comes to a GDF, Mablethorpe, Theddlethorpe, and Sutton on Sea do not represent the ‘willing community’ that the government and nuclear industry say they are looking for to host the dump – instead voters there have clearly said ‘No’.”

Conservative East Lindsey District Council leader, Craig Leyland, said his party was open to discussions on the GDF proposal, but it was too early to say.

“Once they understand where the council’s position is on [the GDF] and the detail of that we will be happy to discuss with them to explain our position,” he said.

An NWS spokesperson stated that the GDF would only be built where there was the consent of a willing community.

“We remain committed to working with the Community Partnership and will continue to engage with the local community and the local authorities on what hosting a GDF would mean for them,” they said.

A Theddlethorpe GDF Community Partnership spokesperson said that they would help to make the community make an informed decision.

“The purpose of the Community Partnership is not to debate the rights or wrongs of a GDF, but to engage with and provide all the relevant information to the community,” they said.

“Its role is to enable the whole community to give their opinion, at the right time and on this issue, rather than the range of issues people decide on in local council elections.”

Turnout was just 31%.

“As reflected in the turnout, there remains a large number of people living in the search area, that haven’t spoken out during the election, and who may have differing views on a GDF, that were not fully expressed through the results,” they said.

The map of the Search Area around Theddlethorpe

Concerns raised around seismic blasting

There have recently been concerns over the impact of seismic blasting in other areas of the UK as part of exploratory works carried out by NWS ahead of geophysical survey works.

The Lakes Against Nuclear Dump/Radiation Free Lakeland groups fear marine deaths in the Irish Sea and Allerdale’s Solway Firth area as part of Copeland exploration were a result of the seismic tests and have called for them to halt while investigations take place.

NWS said they were assessing the data they had obtained already to determine whether they would need to do any geophysical survey work in Lincolnshire.

They said the tests in Copeland were “non-intrusive” and said that there had been no safety or environmental incidents caused by NWS activities, adding that all wildlife sightings were reported back to the Marine Management Organisation.

Bosses said they were “committed to environmental protection” and would work to”minimise the impact”.

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