Cumbria

Radioactive dump plans for west Cumbria rejected

Artist's impression of Keekle Head waste disposal facility
Image caption An artist's impression of Keekle Head waste disposal facility was shown to residents in 2009

Plans for a low-level radioactive waste dump in west Cumbria have been rejected.

The 170-acre site, at a former coal mine at Keekle Head near Distington, would have stored waste for 50 years.

But Cumbria County Council unanimously refused Endecom UK's application, saying it sent out the "wrong message".

The company said it was "disappointed" by the council's decision and added there was a long-term need for the development.

The site would have stored up to a million cubic metres of low-level and very low-level radioactive waste which would include rubble, soils, concrete, overalls, gloves and boots.

'Dumping ground'

Councillors were advised that it was against waste planning guidance, there was no current need for such a disposal site and alternative sites had not been assessed.

They were also told the development would have an unacceptable impact on the surrounding landscape and habitat.

Tim Knowles, the council's cabinet member for environment, said: "Cumbria has a responsibility to manage its waste responsibly, but it is not a dumping ground."

The council was also concerned the development risked sending a "negative message" about west Cumbria if radioactive waste management facilities were allowed outside established nuclear sites.

Copeland Borough Council and a number of parish councils had voiced their opposition to the application.

Phil Holland, of Endecom UK, said: "We firmly believe there is a long term need for such a facility.

"The development would have little or no impact on the local community and help to restore an existing industrial site."

Endecom UK Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of recycling and waste management company SITA UK.

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