ENVIRONMENT Minister Phil Gawne has welcomed a decision by two local authorities in Cumbria to reject plans for an underground nuclear dump opposite the Manx coast.
Cumbria County Council and Allerdale district councils both voted against the proposal for the nuclear waste facility on the Solway Firth.
Mr Gawne MHK said: ‘Obviously I welcome this decision.
‘I appreciate it was an enormously difficult decision for them – everyone in government is very much aware of the need to encourage economic growth in their area. But this demonstrates there does come a point where the environmental risks have to be weighed up against the economic benefits.’
The Minister said the Manx government had taken part in the consultation on the potential nuclear waste site – and that its view was the Solway Firth was ‘wholly inappropriate in terms of geology’.
He said: ‘We expressed concern about the degree of instability in the geology there and the various aquifers running through there.
‘There are far better places. This is not about Nimbyism – and even if it was, we could be forgiven for it as this is absolutely not the most suitable site.’
Cumbria County Council and Allerdale and Copeland district councils were the only local authorities in the UK still involved in feasibility studies for the £12bn disposal facility.
Cumbria’s cabinet voted against research continuing, after evidence from independent geologists that the fractured strata of the county was impossible to entrust with such dangerous material. The vote is a major blow to the Westminster government’s wider nuclear strategy. Mr Gawne said it remained to be seen whether further pressure or funding would be put on the local authorities to try to encourage a rethink.