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Half of locals back nuclear store, poll says

A survey has revealed that 51 per cent of people polled in the Allerdale district are in favour of an underground nuclear waste store in West Cumbria.

The result of an Ipsos Mori poll of 3,000 adults, commissioned by the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, was released this week.

The MRWSP has spent three years investigating whether the area is suitable for a store.

The survey result shows that in the Allerdale council district 37 per cent of those asked were opposed to a store, four per cent were neutral and eight per cent did not know.

In the Copeland area 68 per cent were in favour with 23 per cent against. Four per cent were neutral and five per cent did not know.

Elsewhere in Cumbria, 50 per cent of people surveyed supported the area taking part in the site search; 35 per cent were against, five per cent neutral and 10 per cent said they did not know.

Anti-nuclear campaigners claimed the poll questions were loaded and that respondents were not given full details.

Ruth Balogh, of Save Our Lake District – Don’t Dump Cumbria, said: “The respondents were largely ignorant of this process.

“Nineteen per cent of those asked had never heard of it and 61 per cent had either just ‘heard of it’ or knew ‘just a little’.

“Only four per cent said they knew ‘a lot’ about it and 16 per cent knew a ‘fair amount’.

“If the results of the written submissions to the consultation are anything to go by, the more people know in depth about this very complex issue the less they support going ahead.”

Members of Radiation Free Lakeland and North Cumbria Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament held a peaceful protest outside a MRWSP meeting this week, dressed in radiation suits and holding a sign saying ‘It’s a Fix!’

Martin Forwood, for Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, said: “The closeness of the poll results and those apparently from the partnership’s own public consultation clearly provides no clear mandate to the partnership to advise the local authorities to move to the next stage of the MRWSP process – the decision to participate. In effect, the jury is still out.”

Allerdale council, Copeland council and Cumbria County Council are the only authorities to have expressed an interest in finding a repository for the country’s high-level nuclear waste, most of which is stored at Sellafield.

The store would be 3,000ft underground and hold more than 17 cubic feet of waste.

About 1,400 submissions were received by the partnership during the consultation from more than 2,100 people. It will now draw up a report to be presented to the councils.

Once they have considered information, the councils will vote on whether the area should continue in the process.

The process will only continue if all three councils agree.

A spokesman for Ipsos Mori said the firm had worked closely with the MRWSP, independent external reviewers and its own internal review team to ensure the questionnaire was fair, balanced and not leading.

She said respondents were entitled to opinions whether they knew a lot about the issue or not.

A MRWSP spokesman said: “This is a robust opinion survey carried out by one of the country's leading polling companies.

“It followed a very large-scale communications and engagement programme to give people the chance to find out more and get involved.

“Less than one in 10 of the people who responded to the opinion survey said they didn’t know whether the area should take part in the search for somewhere to put a repository. More than 85 per cent of people said either yes or no, and a very small number were neutral.

“The partnership will now carefully consider the results alongside responses to the separate consultation before sending a report to the councils who will make a decision.”

Have your say

I would certainly like to see the results and how the chose the people for the survey. Did they all work at Sellafield?

I talk to dozens of people every day and not one has said that they want the nuclear waste store, in fact most of them are in favour of closing Sellafiled.

Posted by Andy on 25 May 2012 at 07:56

Immediately after the meeting in Whitehaven on Tues which trumpeted the "broad support" poll results, we went for an ice cream on the harbour at Whitehaven. A young couple waiting at the ice cream van asked what we'd been up to with the "ITS A FIX" sign. We told them about the poll and the fact that this area had already been explored and turned down as unsafe - and that scientists are blowing the whistle but the government wants to be seen to have 'solved' the waste problem.

The young mother was shocked. She had been rung up by the poll and had assumed it was all safe and that the economic benefits would be huge. Her young child had been ill and she said that she would not want to put his future at risk by the possibility of a dangerous leaking nuclear dump nearby.


Posted by marianne on 24 May 2012 at 23:01

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