Detail of outcome
There is no formal Government response to this Call for Evidence. However, the evidence provided during this period has helped shape the proposals set out in the Geological Disposal Facility siting process review consultation document which was launched on 12 September 2013.
This consultation document seeks views on proposals which aim to revise and improve the site selection process for a GDF, while maintaining an approach based on voluntarism and partnership. The consultation closes for responses on 5 December 2013.
Detail of feedback received
Responses from individuals and from organisations have now been published.
Government policy for the long-term management of the UK’s higher-activity radioactive waste is geological disposal. In 2008 the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) White Paper was published which outlined the framework for implementing geological disposal. The MRWS White Paper set out government’s preferred approach to site selection on the principles of voluntarism and partnership.
Three local authorities formally expressed an interest in the MRWS programme: Copeland and Allerdale Borough Councils, and Cumbria County Council. In January 2013, the three local authorities voted on whether to proceed to stage 4 of the process. The two boroughs voted in favour, but the county voted against. The government had in 2011 given a specific undertaking that the existing site selection process would only continue in West Cumbria if there was agreement at both borough and county level. The county’s decision therefore ended the existing site selection process.
Shepway District Council in Kent had also taken soundings from local residents, but subsequently decided against making a formal expression of interest in the current MRWS process.
The government remains firmly committed to geological disposal as the right policy for the long-term safe and secure management of higher-activity radioactive waste, and continues to hold the view that the best means of selecting a site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) is an approach based on voluntarism and partnership.
In line with Secretary of State Edward Davey’s written Ministerial statement of 31 January 2013, we have been considering what lessons can be learned from the experiences of the MRWS programme in West Cumbria and elsewhere. We are now inviting views on the site-selection aspects of the ongoing MRWS programme in this call for evidence, particularly from those who have been engaged in (or have been interested observers of) the MRWS process to date. The responses to this call for evidence will inform a consultation that will follow later in the year.