Nuclear Safety campaigners feel that it is of great concern that the Conservative government made no attempt to be transparent about appointing the CEO of West Cumbria Mining to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management
Tim Farron MP has agreed to work with Radiation Free Lakeland to challenge the UK Government's decision to appoint Mark Kirkbride, chief executive of West Cumbria Mining (WCM), to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (RWM).
This appointment was made the same month, November 2019, that James Brokenshire MP, former secretary of state, gave the green light to Cumbria County Council's unanimous decision to approve the plan by West Cumbria Mining to mine for coal under the Irish Sea.
West Cumbria Mining have now amended their coal mine plan despite unanimous approval by the council. This followed Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign) being awarded the right to proceed with a Judicial Review in the name of RaFL founder Marianne Birkby. The Judicial Review was overtaken by the developers putting in an amended plan.
Radiation Free Lakeland have said: "Will the County Council make the same decision to unanimously approve the amended coal mine plan when it comes before them on the 20th August?
"If they do they are embedding the means to deliver a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) in Cumbria as well as the first coal mine in the UK in 30 years. The appointment of the CEO of West Cumbria Mining to Radioactive Waste Management means that he is tasked with delivery of a GDF.
"As well as WCM's Mark Kirkbride, the committee tasked with delivery of a GDF has as its head of opperations Steve Reece who was former operations director of West Cumbria Mining. This intimate relationship between WCM and the quango tasked with delivering a controversial Geological Disposal Facility demands that questions are asked."
Nuclear Safety campaigners feel that it is of great concern that the Conservative government made no attempt to be transparent about appointing the CEO of West Cumbria Mining to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management in the very same month that they gave the green light to the same CEO's Coal Mine project. This is at the very least a direct conflict of interest.
They argue that it is shocking that this appointment regarding radioactive wastes has been made at all, given the fact that one of Radiation Free Lakeland's major objections to West Cumbria Mining's coal project is that there is a strong likelihood of radioactive consequences - from subsidence and resuspension of radioactive and chemical material from the Cumbrian Mud Patch - and from induced seismicity near the Sellafield site.
This article is based on a press release from Radiation Free Lakeland. A petition to Stop the Coal Mine will be delivered to Cumbria County Council ahead of the meeting on 20 August.