Northern England - Subregion 3

National Geological Screening for a GDF - Northern England

The screening report hosted on this site is a technical exercise across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. No specific location in England, Wales or Northern Ireland has been identified as a potential GDF site. Any future decision on geological disposal would be subject to community agreement and planning and environmental consents.


Our work shows that we may find a suitable geological setting for a GDF in most of this subregion.

Northern England - sub region 3

Rock can be seen at the surface in cliffs, river gorges and man-made excavations such as quarries or road cuttings over much of this subregion. Combined with some deep boreholes and geophysical investigations, this gives us an understanding of the rocks present and their distribution.

There are various types of gaps in our understanding of geology and we deal with these gaps in a number of ways.

There are granites, slates, volcanic lavas and similar strong rocks under most of the subregion, in which we may be able to site a GDF. We would need to do more work to find out whether these rocks have suitable properties and thicknesses in the depth range of interest for a GDF.

Some of the subregion has been mined to depths below 100m for coal resources from Whitehaven through Workington and Maryport to north of Cockermouth, iron around Egremont and Barrow-in-Furness, copper around Coniston and Glenridding, and lead around Glenridding. In these areas the mining is likely to have affected the way in which water moves through the rock. Also possible exploration in the future in these areas means that it is more likely that future generations may disturb a facility.

Part of this sub-region, around Barrow-in-Furness, has Petroleum Exploration & Development Licences to allow companies to explore for oil and gas. This exploration is currently at an early stage and it is not known whether oil or gas in these licence areas will be exploited. RWM will continue to monitor how this exploration programme progresses.

Parts of this area, off the coast of Whitehaven, are Coal Authority Licence Areas allowing companies to explore for coal. It is not known if coal in these licence areas will be exploited. RWM will continue to monitor how this exploration programme progresses.

Part of the sub-region which was mined for anhydrite and gyspum, around Whitehaven, would also need to be taken into account in the siting of a GDF, although the nature of mining in evaporites does not affect the movement of groundwater in the surrounding rocks in the same way as other mining.

For further information, read the report below.

Northern England - Subregion 3

We have also produced a summary of the geological attributes of the Northern England Region.

Published 19 December 2018