Press release

Sellafield Ltd launches Social Impact Strategy

Sellafield Ltd is stepping forward to help leaders in West Cumbria respond to the economic challenges facing the area.


Sellafield Ltd’s new Social Impact Strategy outlines five objectives which will help local leaders to secure inward investment and diversify the local economy, as reprocessing at the site nears completion.

Head of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Reed, said:

Sellafield Ltd’s primary purpose is to clean up the Sellafield site.

As this mission accelerates and reprocessing comes to an end, we are looking towards what the future of our business will be. Given the reliance of the local economy upon Sellafield, what we do will inevitably shape the future of the local economy in a significant way.

The long-standing economic challenges facing West Cumbria are understood by all of us who live and work here – and one of the biggest is over-reliance on the nuclear industry.

This isn’t purely Sellafield’s problem to fix – but we know that we have a role to play. The unprecedented changes we are now seeing at Sellafield present our business and the local community with new opportunities.

To help identify opportunities to strengthen the local economy Sellafield Ltd is launching a Development Advisory Board, which Jamie will chair. The board will bring together local leaders, trade unions and other businesses.

Jamie added:

By working together we can leverage the investment that government makes on the site – currently over £2bn a year – to create sustainable growth by both diversifying the economy and reducing West Cumbria’s reliance on Sellafield.

Achieving this is the biggest challenge facing the economy of West Cumbria, and that’s why I took this job on.

Nuclear will always play a big role, but as we continue to make progress on cleaning up the site, we can shape a future that offers new economic opportunities beyond the nuclear industry. Sustainability is the key — that’s why we have become engaged on projects like the Heathrow Hub, the Bus Station in Whitehaven, and why we’ve become leaders on the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

Sellafield Ltd’s strategy is underpinned by data provided by Oxford Economics, which illustrates the economic impact of Sellafield (see web-links in notes to editors).

Copeland Borough Council’s Mayor, Mike Starkie, has welcomed the new strategy. He said:

Our relationship with Sellafield is strong — they understand the challenges the area faces and have a crucial role to play in helping us to overcome them.

As the site gets safer and cleaner over the decades to come, we know that direct employment will reduce, but by acting now and working together we can make sure that we provide alternatives.

Copeland has many of the same problems of large rural boroughs — being able to work with Sellafield Ltd gives us a huge opportunity to overcome them.

Work from the strategy has already started — Sellafield Ltd announced earlier this year that it was investing £2.6m in an ambitious project to convert Whitehaven’s derelict bus station into a hub for start-up businesses. This follows a £10.6m investment from Sellafield Ltd and £14.5m investment from NDA unlocking a total investment of over £30m in the new Whitehaven Campus, opening later this year.

Mike added:

The bus station is especially significant as it will help to establish growth in non-nuclear businesses coming into the area.

We have find growth industries, like digital, so that we can move away from relying completely on nuclear.

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison said:

Copeland has hosted Sellafield for many years and the community has given a great deal of support to the nuclear industry over those years.

Despite high salaries our infrastructure needs desperate improvement and there are areas of deprivation which must be tackled.

My desire is to see the Sellafield Social Impact Strategy make a real positive difference to the lives of our residents which will leave a long lasting legacy that will cascade to future generations.

Workington MP Sue Hayman said:

Sellafield has been an important strategic asset for the UK since the 1950s, and West Cumbria continues to provide a national service in managing the majority of the UK’s nuclear legacy. As that work progresses, however, there will naturally be fewer direct employment opportunities. I’m pleased to be working with Sellafield Ltd on projects like the Heathrow Hub, to ensure that the region can enjoy a sustainable future beyond the nuclear industry.

Allerdale Borough Council Leader, Alan Smith, said:

The Oxford Economics report highlights a number of serious economic issues for Allerdale and West Cumbria as a whole and could have significant consequences if appropriate interventions aren’t actioned in a timely manner.

It suggests that the approach we have all taken in West Cumbria, with regards to economic diversification, over the past decade hasn’t worked as well as we would have hoped. We look forward to working as an active member of the Development Advisory Board to develop the detailed plans required to deliver the aspirations in the social impact strategy which will hopefully address the stark issues raised in the Oxford Economics report.

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

We very much welcome the launch of the Social Impact Strategy, which focuses on addressing some of the major issues that we have identified in our work with partners on developing Cumbria’s Local Industrial Strategy (LIS). The LIS has two fundamental priorities, improving business productivity and achieving inclusive growth, and diversifying West Cumbria’s business base provides an important opportunity to help achieve both of these priorities.

Cumbria LEP will work in partnership with Sellafield Ltd and local businesses and organisations to make sure that our Local Industrial Strategy is fully informed by the Social Impact Strategy and that we work together to deliver the shared ambition of both these strategies to create growth and prosperity for our businesses and people.

Cumbria County Council’s Economic Development and Property Portfolio Holder, David Southward, said:

The challenges we face here are well understood within the local community – they mirror the challenges that lots of rural areas face. We welcome the strategy and look forward to working with Sellafield Ltd and collaborating with other organisations across the county.

Steve Nicholson, spokesperson for the Sellafield Workers’ Campaign said:

As representatives of the current Sellafield workforce we have a duty to look after the futures of our members, and also a responsibility to hold decision makers to account.

Although we need to broaden our horizons, there is much more to be done regarding nuclear in the UK and West Cumbria is pivotal to these aims. We campaign so that our members’ children and grandchildren can have a positive future, inside or outside of the Sellafield gates. Nobody is going to do it for us.

Notes for Editors:

Sellafield Ltd invests £10m each year directly into projects in the local area. This is specific funding, via the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which is ring-fenced for Social Impact.

Recent investments include:

  • Whitehaven Campus - £10.6m
  • North Shore Bus Station Project - £2.6m
  • Allerdale Social Fund - £500k
  • Copeland Social Fund - £500k
  • Well Whitehaven - £350k
  • Beacon - £325k
  • West Cumbria Works - £205k

Sellafield Ltd’s Social Impact Strategy contains a vision, objectives and outcomes linked to the businesses’ Corporate Strategy, to provide tax-payers and communities close to the site with a socio-economic growth return on their investment at Sellafield.

The five objectives within the Social Impact Strategy are based on United Nations’ sustainability goals.

They are:

  • Resilient Economies
  • Thriving Communities
  • Social Value Chains
  • Sustainable Incomes
  • Collective Impact

Oxford Economics report highlights:

  • SL provides 58.7% of all jobs in Copeland (directly & indirectly)
  • Average salary over £43,000 (UK average £34,451)
  • 1 SL job sustains 3 in the rest of the economy
  • Copeland benefits from 55.9% of SL wage bill (£264m)
  • Allerdale benefits from 25.8% of SL wage bill (25.8%)
  • The economic outlook for Cumbria is challenging

Sellafield Social Impact Strategy

Oxford Economic Report

Published 31 July 2018