Northern England - Subregion 4

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 4

Most of the subregion is the inshore area which extends to 20km from the coast, but rock can be seen at the surface in the sea cliffs. Combined with some deep boreholes and numerous 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 clay-rich rock layers and layers of rock salt under most of the subregion in which we may be able to site a GDF. There are also volcanic lavas and similar strong rocks around Egremont, 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.

Even where individual clay-rich rock layers are found not to be thick enough to host a GDF they may support the siting of a GDF in deeper rocks as they could act as a barrier to groundwater flow from depth. This is important because movement of groundwater is one of the ways in which radioactive material could be carried back to the surface.

There are no known coal, oil, gas or metal resources in this subregion which means that it is unlikely that future generations may disturb a facility.

Parts of this area, particularly off the coast around Barrow-in-Furness, have 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 to the south-west 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 also continue to monitor how this exploration programme progresses.

For further information, read the report below.

Northern England - Subregion 4

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

Published 19 December 2018