Council to withdraw from geological disposal facility talks

21 February 2024

Council to withdraw from geological disposal facility talks

East Riding councillors have today voted to withdraw from conversations about the possibility of a nuclear geological disposal facility (GDF) being built in South Holderness.

At today's full council meeting at County Hall [Wednesday 21 February], councillors voted 53-1 in favour of a motion brought by Councillor Sean McMaster, which called on the council to withdraw from the siting process for the facility.

Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), a division of The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, is currently seeking a suitable site for a GDF for the UK's legacy of radioactive waste.

Last month, East Riding of Yorkshire Council accepted an invitation from NWS to join the South Holderness GDF Working Group, which was set up to begin conversations with the local community about whether a GDF would be right for the area.

Bringing his motion to full council this afternoon, Cllr McMaster, ward councillor for South East Holderness, said there had been an "overwhelming response" from the community since the formation of the Working Group.

He called on the council to "[use] its right of withdrawal with immediate effect, due to the strong opposition from the communities of South Holderness, as a promise was made to take the views of residents into account as the relevant principal local authority".

The motion was seconded by fellow South East Holderness ward councillor Cllr Lyn Healing.

Councillors voted in favour of the motion, meaning the council will now use its right of withdrawal from the GDF siting process.

Councillor Anne Handley, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "The purpose of the Working Group was always to open a conversation with the community about whether a GDF would be right for the South Holderness area.

"The council and NWS were clear about that from the very start.

"In the past few weeks, many people within the community have made it clear that they find this idea unpalatable and do not want South Holderness to be part of the conversation.

"Many other people have attended the drop-in events curious to find out more about the long-term benefits a GDF could bring to its host community.

"Councillors have today considered all these views and decided that it is right to withdraw from this process."

MAIN IMAGE: An illustration of a geological disposal facility. (Picture: Nuclear Waste Services)

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