Nuclear waste disposal in West Cumbria

DECC: sham consultations


On 30 January 2013 the two West Cumbria local boroughs, Copeland and Allerdale, voted to proceed to the next stage of the MRWS process, but Cumbria County Council pulled the plug on this by its veto.

The government is now trying to change the rules of the game so as to circumvent the county's veto. DECC's analysis of the Call for Evidence consultation (ending in June 2013) was dishonestly analysed; it is now trying to use the manipulated results from this 'consultation' to make borough councils the lead decision body.

I obtained under FoI the two detailed spreadsheets that DECC prepared from the Call for Evidence consultation. The first is a definition of 31 themes, with the percentages or 'strength' of support for each. There is a column for which work package each theme belongs to, plus a column with a (not necessarily complete) list of which organisations supported a particular theme. The second table summarises the responses of each individual and organisation in one paragraph each.

The results were used to "inform" the new Siting Process consultation, ending on 19 December 2013. But my independent analysis shows that DECC has distorted, ignored, and/or and manipulated the consultation responses to suit its own agenda. I provided DECC with full details in my Siting Process consultation response.

I collated the 99 individual responses and 86 corporate/institutional responses, as published by DECC in redacted form, into two separate pdfs, which can be text-searched. My findings, in summary, include:
  • The clearest single message of the consultation, that geology must come first, supported by 99 out of 185, has been ignored by DECC.
  • There is no substantive support for making a local council the decision-making body (DMB). Only Copeland BC and three others supported this proposal (4 out of 185). DECC claimed that the National Trust supported this - a lie.
  • Six respondents called for funding for independent scientific scrutiny, as happens in Sweden and Canada. DECC did not even mention this topic.

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