We have issued a draft of the National Geological Screening (NGS) guidance which will form the basis for discussions with the Independent Review Panel (IRP) at a meeting to be held in public in London on 23 June.
After the IRP’s review, we will update the NGS guidance and then hold a public consultation later in 2015.
Feedback from the public consultation will be used to produce final guidance which will then be published and applied by us with the British Geological Survey.
Applying the guidance will provide information for us and communities interested in discussing the siting of a geological disposal facility (GDF). Combined with other relevant information about geological disposal, the geological information will help communities decide whether to become involved in the siting process. More details of the public consultation and future opportunities to be involved in the GDF siting process will be publicised in due course.
It should be stressed that the document issued today is a draft for discussion and does not form definitive guidance for the NGS exercise. NGS is intended to describe what we already know about the geology of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and what we need to know about aspects of geology that are relevant to the safety of a GDF. NGS is designed to obtain this information on a national basis.
NGS does not by itself determine whether an area is suitable, or unsuitable, for a GDF. Much of the information that would be needed to determine whether and how a site could be developed is not available at present. Further work will be needed to explore the local geology in more detail during the siting process beginning in 2017.
The IRP has been set up by the Geological Society of London on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change to assess draft NGS guidance developed by RWM. Independent expert review of the guidance is a key step in building public confidence in national geological screening.