South West England - Subregion 2

National Geological Screening for a GDF - South West England region

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.

South West England - Subregion 2

Rock can be seen at the surface in some of this subregion such as the sea cliffs, cliffs in Exmoor and in man-made excavations such as quarries or road cuttings. Combined with numerous 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 slates and similar strong rocks under the whole 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.

Some of the subregion has been mined to depths below 100m for lead and silver resources north of South Molton and in the east of Exmoor. 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.

An area along the northern edge of this subregion between Minehead and Bridgwater has Petroleum Exploration and 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.

For further information, read the report below.

South West England Subregion 2

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

Go to National Geological Screening for a GDF

Go to geological disposal homepage

Published 19 December 2018