FOI 03648 – Allerdale Task Force Requests

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Thank you for your request received on October 25, 2021 for information related to the Allerdale Task Force. I have dealt with your request in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (the EIRs) and confirm that we hold the information relating to your request. Please see our responses below.

The government’s policy on implementing geological storage by working with communities has been developed after several years of consultation and sets out a process that allows for engagement without early engagement from communities and requires informed consent before decisions on site selection. All requirements are set out in Chapter 6 of the policy at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/implementing-geological-disposal-working-with-communities-long-term-management-of- higher-activity-radioactive-waste.

The process begins with discussions, investigation and engagement through a working group who may seek to establish a community partnership to move the process forward with RWM, relevant lead local authorities and community members working together . A community partnership can only be formed if at least one relevant elected lead local authority agrees to participate. At any time before a public support test, the elected key competent local authorities can remove the community and halt the process. Once the necessary work has been undertaken to survey the area and propose a potential site, the final potential host community can be confirmed around that site. It is this community that will make the final decision on whether or not to accept to host an installation through a public support test. Lead local competent authorities elected through a community partnership will decide when to hold a test of public support, but this will only be taken after extensive community engagement, when the community has had time to ask questions, to raise concerns and learn about a GDF.

Government policy clearly states that if the result of the public support test is not positive, RWM will not be able to seek regulatory approval and development consent for a GDF and the site selection process will cease. in this community.

Community partnerships could work collaboratively to resolve issues, questions and concerns over a period of years, as technical work is carried out in parallel to provide more information, alongside the development of local community visions for the future long-term. As the government policy that establishes the process for selecting a SFM site makes clear, “testing for public support would only be done after extensive community engagement, when the community has had time to ask questions, raise concerns and inquire about a GDF”. It will be up to the community partnerships to decide how they wish to approach the completion of the public support test in their area, with the key elected local competent authorities deciding the timing. Government policy is also clear on the importance of this being conducted in a fair and robust manner. It refers to three examples of mechanisms that could be used now – a local referendum, a formal consultation or a statistically representative poll – but also recognizes that new methods of testing public opinion may emerge in the future and that partnerships communities may wish to consider a different approach. More deliberative approaches that allow for deeper public scrutiny of issues are constantly being developed and these may offer exciting opportunities for community decision-making in the future.

Please provide a summary of the age, gender and (if available) socio-economic data of respondents to the survey conducted in April 2021 and how they represent the composition of the entire consultation area.

The age and gender profile of the Allerdale sample is provided below. Quotas and weights were used to ensure the sample was representative of the known census profile of adult Allerdale residents. The socio-economic group was not captured in the survey.

Weighted sample proportion Unweighted basis Weighted base
Total 100% 401 401
Man 49% 188 196
Female 51% 211 203
Sex not provided 2 2
18-44 years old 36% 86 142
45-64 years old 36% 157 143
65 and over 28% 155 113
Aged not provided 3 3

Share a copy of the Snapshot Engagement Report provided to Allerdale Borough Council.

Please find attached.

Give examples of other places that have accepted a GDF, where the population density is similar to Allerdale.

Geological disposal is the approach chosen to deal with the highest level radioactive waste in other countries, including Sweden, Finland, Canada and France. Finland and Sweden have reached the stage of final Community decisions. In Finland, the six study sites were close to towns – although their towns were smaller than those in the UK. For example Rauma, which is 15 km from Olkiluoto, has 40,000 inhabitants and is as such a medium-sized “city” in Finland and the 29th largest municipality out of 309.

There are no regulatory requirements that would prevent Allerdale from being considered in the SFM site selection process due to population density.

  • House prices
  • Compulsory purchase of a property
  • Increase in traffic and types of traffic
  • Transport changes (e.g. new or wider roads)
  • Restricted access to areas previously accessible to the public (coastline, sea, local walking paths)
  • Provide a calculation of the negative financial impact on residents if a GDF were based in their area.

At this early part of the site selection process, the assessment work carried out by RWM is of a high level and aims to understand if there is any reason to suggest that the identified areas could not be examined further and we do not hold the information requested above. The assessment work carried out has not confirmed that the research area is suitable to host a facility, only that it has the potential to contain a suitable location. The process of identifying and selecting a suitable site will require much more detailed technical work considering a wide range of issues, including the long-term implications of delivering a GDF, which will take many years. .

Share a full list of other locations in England considered a potential site.

In addition to Allerdale, GDF task forces have also been formed in Copeland and Theddlethorpe, Lincolnshire. The formation of the first SFM Community Partnership in Mid-Copeland was also announced this week. You can visit all of the SFM Working Group and Community Partnership websites from the main Working in Partnership site here: https://www.workinginpartnership.org.uk/.

Provide a list of all reasons why the Allerdale LDNP area was excluded.

The process of selecting a SFM site established in government policy begins with interested parties proposing areas of potential interest for discussion, leading to a working group to begin engagement and propose a “search area” around which a community partnership can advance more detailed work. Interested parties and working groups can start with any area they wish to suggest as a starting point. In the case of Allerdale, the original stakeholder proposal, accepted by all members of the working group, was to consider all of Allerdale except for the area within the Lake District National Park. The process is not based on consideration of entire districts or counties. There is no requirement for the LDNP to be considered and no one on the working group is suggesting that it be.

Please add a page to your website detailing the questions and comments you have received to date, along with your responses.

The Working Group includes updates of engagement activity on its communication channels, such as the Monthly Bulletins website (sent directly to subscribers and also available on the Working Group’s website). A sample newsletter with comments on recent engagement events is here: https://allerdale.workinginpartnership.org.uk/allerdale-gdf-working-group-october-newsletter/

Confirm how many working group members live in the proposed SFM area.

There are only 6 task force members and we consider that if we provide the number of members who live in the Allerdale area, it may be possible to determine personal information about individual task force members by using other information that is already in the public domain. Under Regulation 13(1) of the EIR, we are not obliged to provide personal information about anyone other than you if disclosing it would breach the principles of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Regulation Data Protection Act (UK GDPR) which require that personal data be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently vis-à-vis the data subject.

It may be useful to add that the working group is responsible for initiating the engagement, proposing a research area and identifying the first members of the community partnership. It is up to the relevant elected lead local authority(ies) to decide whether or not a community partnership can be formed to take the work forward.

If you are unhappy with the way RWM has handled your request, you have the right to ask us to review our actions and decisions. If you would like to request a review, please reply to this email or write to me at [email protected] within 40 working days of receiving this response. You will receive a full response to your review request within 20 business days of receipt.

Be sure to quote FOI 03648 in all correspondence regarding this application.

If you are not satisfied with the result of the internal review, you have the right to request a decision directly from the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

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