Stop seismic blasting in the Irish Sea

by Marianne Birkby

Stop seismic blasting in the Irish Sea

by Marianne Birkby
Marianne Birkby
Case Owner
Founder of volunteer group Radiation Free Lakeland working to oppose dangerous new nuclear developments. Also a wildlife artist
Funded
on 21st July 2022
£14,223
pledged of £45,000 stretch target from 692 pledges
Marianne Birkby
Case Owner
Founder of volunteer group Radiation Free Lakeland working to oppose dangerous new nuclear developments. Also a wildlife artist

Latest: Jan. 16, 2023

New Challenges to Protect Irish Sea and Solway Firth

Pod of Dolphins - Walney  - photo by Neil Morrison


 Dear Friends,

 
Thank you to all who have supported this campaign. We have had a rollercoaster of a year with battles on so many fronts…

Read more

This summer the marine life of the Irish Sea off the West Coast of Cumbria will be blasted with airguns every five seconds 24/7 for 20 days, unless we can stop it.

A last minute legal challenge has been threatened against the plan by Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) who want to investigate the geology beneath the Irish Sea bed for a deep and very hot nuclear waste dump (Geological Disposal Facility).  The challenge has been started by Radiation Free Lakeland with the help and advice of environmental lawyers Leigh Day.  

The grounds are that authorisation of the seismic blasting—blasting the seafloor with high-powered airguns—by the regulators, the Marine Management Organisation, is unlawful.

Dolphins at Walney Lighthouse seen this Summer

Our marine life is in danger

The regulatory body has authorised disturbance to common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise, minke whale and sea turtles which are all European Protected Species requiring a European Protected Species Licence under UK law. 

The area also contains basking shark whose plankton food source is likely to suffer significant impacts.  Shearwater Geoservices the company hired by Nuclear Waste Services was accused earlier this year of causing whale strandings in Greece. 

The survey due to begin on the 1st August involves airguns fixed to a ship producing high intensity sounds using compressed air bubbles. The reflected sounds are recorded by hydrophones trailed on streamers behind the ship The ship would be collecting data 24/7 for up to 20 days, with sounds being fired at 5 second intervals.  

Almost 50,000 individuals have signed an online petition in opposition to the plan, whilst many leading environmental and conservation groups have registered their concerns that the health of marine wildlife will be seriously compromised.

To date, the local and national authorities and most disturbingly the Marine Management Organisation have turned a blind eye to vigorous and legitimate objections to the plan and NWS’ underhand application for “exemption” from vital regulatory consultations and Environmental Impact Assessments.   An independent report by Marine Pollution expert Tim Deere-Jones remarks that NWS’ application for an exemption from licensing shows “a marked lack of transparency.”

Why are we raising funds?

Although Leigh Day have generously agreed to do this at much reduced rates, we still need to raise a minimum of £39,000 in order to challenge this outrageous plan.  All monies raised will go directly to the legal case in order to cover our legal team’s costs, court fees and adverse costs if the case is unsuccessful.

Every donation will go directly towards challenging the plan.


Further information:

The Legal Challenge advised by Leigh Day puts forward several grounds including:

  • The Survey does not fall within the scope of the exemption in art.17 of MMO’s Exempted Activities Order as it involves the use of an explosive article, namely an airgun, which is a licensable activity under item 10 of s.66(1) of the MCAA 2009.

  • The Survey does not benefit from the exemption in art.17 as it is excluded by the operation of art.17(5)(c) and (6)(a), which prevent an exemption applying where a deposit is likely to have a significant effect on a European Site.  Any mitigation measures (such as marine mammal observers) intended to avoid or reduce the harmful effects of the plan or project must be disregarded.

  • The grant of the European Protected Species Licence by MMO is unlawful as it has been granted for the purpose of science and education pursuant to s.16 of the WCA 1981 and reg.55 of the Habitats Regulations, but this is not the purpose of the Survey, which seeks to assess the suitability of the deep geology of the area for future infrastructure development. It therefore has an industrial or commercial purpose rather than a science, education or research purpose. 

The Pre-Action letter sent to the Marine Management Organisation proposes that the MMO: 

“notify NWS with alacrity that the proposed Survey does not benefit from an exemption under the Exempted Activities Order, requires a licence for disturbance to basking shark and that enforcement action will be taken if NWS proceeds with the Survey without applying for a marine licence and basking shark licence. If the MMO fails to take these actions, the Proposed Claimant will consider issuing a judicial review claim against the MMO and seeking pre-emptive interim relief to prevent the Survey from taking place. “

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Update 9

Marianne Birkby

Jan. 16, 2023

New Challenges to Protect Irish Sea and Solway Firth

Pod of Dolphins - Walney  - photo by Neil Morrison


 Dear Friends,

 
Thank you to all who have supported this campaign. We have had a rollercoaster of a year with battles on so many fronts that sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the big picture which is protection of our land and our sea from further nuclear pollution.

With the big picture in mind we have compiled a Timeline - the next part of this story is up to all of us. It is good to remember that we have many allies and friends who provide invaluable advice, help and support and with that and the power of all our collective elbows we say on behalf of our marine life and so much more besides...No Sub-Sea Nuclear Dump!   Nuclear Waste Services next plan is to seismically blast the Solway Firth in the next stage of investigations to prepare the way for a deep and very hot nuclear dump under the Irish Sea/Solway Firth.  We know that the seismic blasting in the Mid Copeland area (from Millom to St Bees area) has impacted marine life and we shall do everything we can in 2023 to prevent further damage from this outrageous nuclear dump plan.

with all best wishes

Marianne 

 
BACKGROUND

 
In the 1990’s a government agency called Nirex looked at the Gosforth area in West Cumbria as a possible site for geological disposal of nuclear wastes. An inquiry and appeal followed. The Inquiry Inspector agreed with the view taken by local authorities and environment groups that the risk of radioactive waste migrating to the surface was too great. Following the failure to find a site in the 1990s, in 2008 the government asked for “volunteer communities” to make a “home” for high-level radioactive wastes deep underground. Only Cumbria “expressed an interest.” Volunteer group Radiation Free Lakeland was formed to fight the plan. In 2013 Cumbria County Council voted to take no further steps towards Geological Disposal. Their decision can be read here: https://cumbria.gov.uk/elibrary/Content/Internet/538/41543992.PDF 

 
Since 2013 the law has been changed to make Geological Disposal a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. Cumbria County Council no longer exists (from 2023) and a new process under Nuclear Waste Services, a division of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has begun in Copeland and Allerdale to “find a home” for high level radioactive wastes.

 
 TIMELINE

 
1801

 
“There’s joy in the mountains,

 
There’s life in the fountains”

 
Willliam Wordsworth - a poem

 
1997 “the location should be in a region of low hydraulic gradients, so that there should be slow-moving and long groundwater pathways; the geology and hydrogeology of the site and its district should be readily characterisable and predictable.” Chris McDonald, Nirex Inquiry Inspector’s Report Letter from Chris McDonald to the Guardian 2007 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jun/28/nuclear.uk  

2008

 
“Geological disposal safety plans do not assume that total containment by engineered barrier systems for ever is possible.” Dr Adrian Bath, Engineered Barrier Systems :What are they for and how do they relate to the geosphere? A Presentation. https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/~/media/shared/documents/policy/Policy%20Meetings/Bath.pdf?la=en 

 
Volunteer group, Radiation Free Lakeland formed in 2008 to fight the Geological Disposal Facility plans

 
2010

 
“Build-up of gas pressure in the repository, as a result of the corrosion of metals and/or the degradation of organic material, could damage the barriers and force fast routes for radionuclide escape through crystalline rock fractures or clay rock pores.”

 
Dr Helen Wallace, Rock Solid? A scientific review Sept 15th https://temelin.cz/ke-stazeni/odborne-studie/rock-solid-helen-wallace-genewatch-uk-eng 

 
2011

 
" I would like us to set a goal of putting the first waste into a geological disposal facility by the end of 2029. I have tasked the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to look at opportunities for accelerating progress to meet this aim".  Charles Hendry MP, Chair of the Geological Disposal Implementation Board, Department of Energy and Climate Change Press Release 28th June

 
 2012

 
“This groundwater will return to the surface" (or the sea bed) "much faster, within a few decades, if hot temperature, high level waste is also buried. That heat will also make the land surface rise. No earthquakes or extra rainfall are needed.” Professor Stuart Haszeldine OBE FRSE C.Geol, Cockermouth Feb 2nd 2012

 
"The Swedish concept of emplacing high-level waste in copper cylinders, which are then buried in granitic rock, has been adopted by the UK. But it does not work. This short slideshow explains why. The history of this concept shows that nuclear engineers are over-optimistic, by a factor of 10,000 or more, about the prowess of their technology in containing nuclear waste." Professor David Smythe

 

 
“Government is using an approach based on voluntarism and partnership to site a geological disposal facility with the first stage being local communities expressing an interest in entering discussions about the siting process. The invitation for communities to express an interest is still open . We can be contacted on radioactivewaste@decc.gsi.gov.uk or 0300 068 6111”

 

2013

 
"When I came away from the International Conference in Canada, after speaking to many experts from all over the world, I was quite convinced that there was no alternative to a GDF. Then I started my research in earnest… the more I read and studied and listened the less certain I became that a GDF in Cumbria was the solution to Cumbria’s or the UK’s nuclear waste”. Council Leader Eddie Martin’s speech to Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet 30th January 2013 when CCC voted not to proceed with GDF “steps”. https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/eddie-martins-speech-to-cabinet-on-30th-january/ 

 
2015

 
Government makes Geological Disposal of Nuclear Waste a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project which provides exemption from regulatory planning process. A yet to be decided “test of public support” would be limited to the immediate area of the GDF. https://theecologist.org/2015/apr/02/dump-nuclear-waste-first-they-must-dump-democracy 

 
2019

CEO of West Cumbria Mining currently focussed on coal is appointed to the Government Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. Mark Kirkbride's brief is " provision of advice to BEIS (Dept of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy) and RWM (Radioactive Waste Management now Nuclear Waste Services) on activities relating to the continued development of a GDF safety case" and "GDF siting activities, including selection criteria, methods of investigation, and the timescale for carrying out site selection in the three rock types” and to "advise on new technologies that could be applicable to the development of a GDF including those in the mining and construction sectors and their potential impacts on a GDF programme” https://www.change.org/p/sack-cumbrian-coal-mine-boss-from-government-advisor-role-for-nuclear-dump 

 
2022

 
“Cumbria County Council will cease to exist in May 2023. The government chose the new Unitary boundary to coincide with pro-nuclear councils.” Dr Kate Willshaw, Friends of the Lake District https://allerdalecopeland.greenparty.org.uk/2022/01/30/disposal-of-nuclear-waste-in-cumbria/ 

"As part of the search for a suitable site to build a Geological Disposal Facility, the Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership has formed and ..has given access to £1million Community Investment Funding per year .. Lizzie applied for funding for a revamp of the village BMX Pump Track in Seascale and was awarded £47,801". https://midcopeland.workinginpartnership.org.uk/three-community-projects-awarded-grant-funding-from-gdf-programme/ 

"Formation of the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership has given access to £1million Community Investment Funding per year from the GDF programme .. The project to benefit from this first round of funding was Millom Cricket Club, receiving £31,236 to make improvements to the clubhouse and facilities.” South Copeland GDF Community Partnership May 10th 2022 https://southcopeland.workinginpartnership.org.uk/first-projects-in-south-copeland-receive-grant-funding-from-gdf-programme/ 

 
"The UK government’s Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) is set to carry out seismic surveys off the Cumbrian Coast between July and August this year. They are looking for a place to dispose of the waste produced by Britain’s nuclear reactors.” Charlie Jaay in Euronews.green https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/06/22/the-uk-is-searching-the-sea-for-a-nuclear-dump-site-and-the-risks-to-marine-life-are-huge  June 2022

"Undersea nuclear waste dump off Cumbria risks harm to marine life experts warn" https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/29/undersea-nuclear-waste-dump-off-cumbria-risks-harm-to-marine-life-experts-warn


"Maryport Solway Sea Cadets - TS Caesar are thrilled to receive funding from the Allerdale GDF Community Partnership Investment Fund. This investment has allowed us to replace our old pontoons and continue to provide exciting opportunities for our young people to safely access adventures on the water.” Maryport Solway Sea Cadets 20th November 2022

Marine fatalities and displacements include seals, harbour porpoises, pilot whale and dolphin on the West Coast of Cumbria during and since the seismic blasting.. https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/23237625.pilot-whale-found-stranded-west-beach-silloth/

 
The rest of the story is up to us, will there be resistance and opposition to the tsunami of nuclear bribes aiming to manufacture consent for the nuclear dump plan? Will the wider public in Cumbria and neighbours such as Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man object to the narrow "test of public support" for a deep, subsea and very hot nuclear dump which excludes all those who are not being bribed.  Will the damage to marine life be the canary in the coal mine that should put a halt to this plan? ......TO BE CONTINUED.......

 
 With all best wishes

Marianne

 

 
 

 
 

Update 8

Marianne Birkby

Nov. 22, 2022

Whitewash of Seismic Complaint - including "Criminal Offence"

Harbour Porpoise

Dear Friends,

the following press release has been sent out to local and national media - there does seem to be a taboo on this.   We do not accept Copeland Borough Council's whitewashing of our complaint which includes the criminal offence of lack of disclosure of nuclear pecuniary interests by the Lead Member of Copeland Borough Council on nuclear issues - including the seismic blasting.

All best

Marianne

 
Press Release

 
Nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland have written to Copeland Borough Council in protest at the "whitewashing" of their seismic blasting complaint against Councillor David Moore. The complaint was in two parts:

 
(1) Firstly, ‘Cllr David Moore’s statement made on BBC North West on 2nd August in dismissing over 50,000 signatures opposing the seismic testing of the Irish Sea in August, to test the geology for a Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes, as an “odd, few.”

 
(2) Secondly, Cllr David Moore’s failure to declare financial interests at the Executive meeting of the 12th July at which a petition of nearly 50,000 signatures was presented opposing the seismic testing carried out by Shearwater GeoServices on behalf of Nuclear Waste Services and the GDF Partnership of Mid and South Copeland.

 
 

 
The group say that it is clear Cllr David Moore was disrespectful and dismissive of objectors to the seismic blasting, a practice which is acknowledged to have harmful impacts on marine life. On the 18th August a dead harbour porpoise and seals were photographed on Drigg beach this was at the same time as witnesses saw the displacement of harbour porpoises seen in Whitehaven harbour unusually near paddle boarders and hundreds of dead jelly fish stranded at Silloth. The group say that they are astounded that the Ethics and Standards Committee of Copeland Borough Council have not reprimanded Councillor Moore for his failure to disclose financial nuclear interests of over £11,000 a year not only at the 12th July meeting at which the petition against the seismic testing was discussed but also at the systemic failure to disclose financial nuclear interests at meetings where Cllr Moore is Lead Member on key nuclear decisions such as the decision to enter into the GDF Community Partnership. It is this decision say Radiation Free Lakeland which has "opened the floodgates to investigation techniques of which the hugely damaging seismic blasting was just the first round."

 
 

 
Failure to declare pecuniary interests is a criminal offence and the letter from Radiation Free Lakeland urges Copeland Borough Council's Monitoring Officer to refer Cllr Moore's failure to declare financial interests to Cumbria Police.

 
 The full letter is below

 

ENDS

 

Petition https://www.change.org/p/save-the-whale-and-the-snail-stop-nuclear-waste-services-blasting-the-irish-sea

 

 
Dear Ethics and Standards Committee of Copeland Borough Council

 

Thank you for the decision notice regarding the complaint concerning Councillor David Moore. We do not accept the validity of the decision for the reasons laid out below and urge Copeland Borough Council’s Monitoring Officer to refer Councillor David Moore’s systemic failure to declare pecuniary interests to Cumbria Police.

 

COMPLAINT:

 
(1) Firstly, ‘Cllr David Moore’s statement on BBC North West in dismissing over 50,000 voices as “odd, few.”

 
(2) Secondly, Cllr David Moore’s failure to declare interests at the Executive meeting of the 12th July at which the Petition of then nearly 50,000 signatures was presented.

 
We accept that there is “no right of appeal” but would like it to be entered on record that Radiation Free Lakeland do not accept the validity of this decision for the following reasons:

 

The Ethics and Standards Committee of Copeland Borough Council’s final decision was that there was no breach of the Council’s Code of Conduct as on the evidence of Councillor Moore he was not talking about the petition but about a “community event discussing seismic blasting where a few people had expressed concerns.”



Councillor Moore emphasised to the committee that the GDF Partnerships ( Mid and South Copeland GDF Partnerships) which he represents on behalf of Copeland Borough Council “had nothing to do with seismic testing nor had any influence on the matter” and “the contract (for seismic blasting) was let before the Mid Copeland Partnership was established.” Cllr Moore was the spokesperson on seismic blasting on the BBC for the GDF Partnership between Nuclear Waste Services and the Borough Council. Nuclear Waste Services’ predecessor Radioactive Waste Management (both divisions of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) commissioned the seismic blasting. Councillor Moore was the Lead Member of Copeland Borough Council’s Executive decision to join the GDF Community Partnership with RWM/NWS i.e. NDA.

 
 The deliberate repeating of the word “odd” by Cllr Moore in the BBC broadcast was disrespectful even if as Cllr Moore alleges he was referring to a few people attending the “drop ins” rather than the 50,000 signature petition. In any event we contest Cllr Moore’s assertion that only a few people during the “drop ins” opposed the seismic testing. At just one event in Haverigg there were around 20 people in attendance the short time I was there who ALL opposed the seismic testing - they may have been polite about it but that does not mean they are “comfortable with" the GDF Community Partnership’s justification for seismic blasting

 

(2) The Ethics and Standards Committee’s final decision was that there was no breach of failing to declare interests. This runs counter to guidance issued to local government councillors by the then Department of Communities and Local Government in September 2013 which describes in Annex A, a pecuniary interest as including ‘Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain, which you, or your spouse or civil partner, undertakes.’ Any OFFICE and for GAIN being the most relevant words in this section.

 
 Councillor David Moore has been in the OFFICE of Chair of the West Cumbria Site Stakeholder Group since 2005 and as a result has made a GAIN (i.e. received a financial renumeration) of £6,300 per annum.

 

Since 2022, Councillor David Moore has been in the OFFICE of Chair of Nuleaf (the Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum) and as a result has made a GAIN of £5,000 per annum.

 

Both of these remunerations are made by Nuclear Waste Services, an agency of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the government sponsored (to the tune of almost £3 billion per annum) body responsible for clean-up operations at Sellafield, for the operation of the Low Level Waste Repository at Drigg and for securing a site for a Geological Disposal Facility (colloquially called the "nuclear dump").

 
 How is it then that Cllr Moore can fail to declare in Section 1 of the Copeland Borough Council Register of Interests: ‘Details of any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain’ that he has held these two OFFICES for GAIN?

 

And how is it that he is able to hold the office of Portfolio Holder for Nuclear Services or speaking or voting on any matter relating to the nuclear industry at Copeland Borough Council given he is in receipt of at least £11,300 per annum from the nuclear industry?

 

Despite Councillor Moore’s pecuniary interests in his various roles funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority who also wholly fund Nuclear Waste Services the Committee concluded that “Overall there was no direct relationship between Nuclear Waste Services, the seismic testing and the outside bodies which the Member was a member of.” This is simply not credible. Nuclear Waste Services is according to Gov.UK NOT a legal entity - it is merely a division of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority who also employ Councillor David Moore on at least three groups wholly or partly funded by the NDA.

 
 BLATANT LIE - West Cumbria Site Stakeholder Group

 
Cllr Moore stated to the Ethics and Standards Committee that in respect of West Cumbria Sites Stakeholder Group: “no allowance was received and that this was looking at low level waste.” This is a blatantly false statement as Councillor Moore has been Chair of the WCSSG since 2005. At the current rate of renumeration Cllr Moore will have received £107,100 over 17 years. It is inconceivable that over 17 years as WCSSG Chair, Cllr Moore believes the stakeholder group is “looking at low level waste” to the exclusion of looking at the performance of Sellafield and its growing stockpile of high level nuclear wastes (https://wcssg.co.uk/meetings-event/spent-fuel-management-and-nuclear-materials-working-group-32/ The WCSSG was originally the Sellafield Local Liaison Committee. ( https://wcssg.co.uk/about-us/ ).

 
NO PECUNIARY INTERESTS DECLARED ….EVER (?)

 
We would also draw the Ethics and Standards Committee’s attention to the evidence we gave as part of our complaint which is the non-declaration of interests not only at the 12th July Executive Committee hearing at which the seismic blasting petition was delivered but also to the systemic failure of Cllr Moore to declare ANY pecuniary interests…EVER (as far as we can tell). This includes the Executive meeting at which the GDF Community Partnership was agreed on behalf of the full council, this is the point at which the floodgates were opened for GDF “investigation techniques." Investigation Techniques are being advised by the CEO of West Cumbria Mining Mark Kirkbride in his role at the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management who in turn advise the NDA/NWS. Not only were pecuniary interests not declared but Cllr Moore as the Council’s Nuclear Portfolio holder is Lead Member on Executive decisions regarding the nuclear industry. The same industry from which he and his spouse are in direct receipt of monies. Note NWS is NOT a legal entity it is a division of the NDA who fund Cllr Moore’s various nuclear appointments either fully or for the most part.

 

To reiterate, Radiation Free Lakeland do not accept the validity of the Ethics and Standards Committee decision regarding our complaint against Councillor Moore and in addition urge Copeland Borough Council's Monitoring Officer to refer Cllr Moore's non declaration of pecuniary interests to Cumbria Police.

 
Yours sincerely

 

Marianne Birkby

 
Neil Wilson

 
on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland

 
image - Copeland Borough Council webpage screenshot - no declaration of interest for Cllr Moore from 30.9.21 to 11.10.22. - as far as we can see there have NEVER been any declarations of pecuniary interest from Cllr David Moore on any nuclear applications from the NDA or its divisions wholly funded by the NDA - LLWR/RWM/NWS

 

 
References.

 
Attached - Radiation Free Lakeland v Cllr David Moore decision notice from Copeland Borough Council

 

Councillor David Moore, a member of the Mid Copeland GDF partnership, and deputy mayor of Copeland Council, said: "We have had odd people and they are in the minority, that have expressed concerns and when we've explained the process they are comfortable with it.”

 
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-62397013

 

According to Gov.UK NWS is NOT a legal entity - it is merely a division of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/nuclear-waste-services/about/our-governance

 

Community Partnership Agreement - LEAD MEMBER: Cllr David Moore, Portfolio Holder for Nuclear

 
Executive Decision - 27 July 2021 The UK Government’s approach to identifying a site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for higher-activity radioactive waste - Developing a Community Partnership Agreement

 
"a. The establishment of a mechanism for the distribution of the Community Investment Fund that is acceptable to the Council b. The inclusion of a Community Engagement programme that enables local residents and stakeholders from across the Borough to engage in the work of the Community Partnership c. The costs of Council involvement in the process are recoverable. d. The Community Partnership and RWM when considering procuring goods and services for the work of the Partnership, maximises where possible opportunities for the local business community.”

 
https://copeland.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s11503/210727draftExecreportCPA%20007.pdf

 
https://copeland.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=135&MId=963&Ver=4

 

Executive 20th April 2021

 
The Magnox Inquiry - final report - Lead Member Cllr David Moore

 
https://copeland.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=135&MId=948&Ver=4

 
https://copeland.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s10909/210420%20Exec%20Report%20Magnox%20Inquiry.pdf

 
 Executive - Tues 16th March 2021

 
New Nuclear - Lead Member Cllr David Moore

 
Executive supports the nomination of the Moorside site and other suitable NDA-owned land around Sellafield into the national siting process. UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) Siting Process

 
https://copeland.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=135&MId=919&Ver=4

 
https://copeland.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s10776/STEP%20160321.pdf

 

Update 7

Marianne Birkby

Nov. 17, 2022

Dead Marine Life and Lies Airbrushed Away Over Seismic Complaint


Dear Friends 

sorry the news is grim - this is the latest Press Release just sent to media - will they publish ?  Or like Copeland Borough Council airbrush away this ongoing criminality which would end with a heat generating nuclear dump under the Irish Sea.   Have included here a photo of live Harbour Porpoise rather than the photos of dead porpoise and seals on Drigg beach sent to Cetacean Strandings UK.

Sending wishes

Marianne

PRESS RELEASE. 17th November 2022

Ethics Committee of Copeland Borough Council Stand By Councillor Moore Over Seismic Complaint.

On 25th October Copeland Borough Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee heard a complaint by Radiation Free Lakeland (a volunteer nuclear safety group) against Councillor David Moore regarding the seismic blasting.    The seismic blasting using airguns towed from a vessel took place over 20 days for 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the Irish Sea centred off Seascale this August.  It was carried out in order to test the geology for a deep geological nuclear facility (G.D.F aka “nuclear dump”) for high level nuclear wastes.

The complaint against Councillor David Moore who represents Copeland Borough Council on the Mid and South Copeland GDF Community Partnerships was in two parts:

(1)  Firstly, ‘Cllr David Moore’s statement on BBC North West in dismissing over 50,000 voices as an “odd, few.”   On the  BBC North West broadcast on the 1st August 2022 Councillor Moore representing Copeland Council for the GDF Partnerships of Mid and South Copeland referred to over 50,000 people opposing the seismic blasting as “We have had the few odd people and they are in the minority of people that have expressed some concern. We've had the odd few people come in that were concerned and once we'd explained the process that's taking place, they're comfortable with it”.

(2)  Secondly, Cllr David Moore’s failure to declare interests at the Executive meeting of the 12th July

The hearing was held in private without public or press, due to the sensitive nature of part of the complaint ( this being the employment of Councillor Moore’s spouse by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority)

“GDF PARTNERSHIP HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH SEISMIC BLASTING”

1. The Standards and Ethics Committee of Copeland Borough Council considered Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights now transposed into the Human Rights Act and suggested that Councillor David Moore’s human right of free expression to publicly call those 50,000 people opposing the seismic blasting an “odd few people”  was to be considered in the light of the Lombardo v Malta (2009) 48 EHHR 23 case in which political expression deserves enhanced protection  if  “said in good faith with some ‘reasonable (even if incorrect) factual basis for saying it.”  

The Ethics Committee decided that there was no breach of the Council’s Code of Conduct as on the evidence of Councillor Moore he was not talking to the BBC about the petition but about a “community event discussing seismic blasting where a few people had expressed concerns.”  The BBC were talking about the response to the seismic blasting.  Councillor Moore emphasised to the Ethics Committee that the GDF Partnership which he represents on behalf of Copeland Borough Council  “had nothing to do with seismic testing nor had any influence on the matter” and “the contract (for seismic blasting) was let before the Mid Copeland Partnership was established.”  Cllr Moore was the spokesperson on seismic blasting on the BBC for the GDF Partnership between Nuclear Waste Services and the Borough Council.

NO NEED TO DECLARE PECUNIARY INTERESTS DESPITE  KEY ROLES FUNDED BY NUCLEAR DECOMMISSIONING AUTHORITY/NUCLEAR WASTE SERVICES

2. Despite Councillor Moore’s pecuniary interests in his various roles funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority who also wholly fund Nuclear Waste Services the Committee concluded that “Overall there was no direct relationship between Nuclear Waste Services, the seismic testing and the outside bodies which the Member was a member of.”   This runs counter to the fact that it was Nuclear Waste Services who commissioned the seismic blasting.

Pecuniary Interests

*Employment of Spouse by NDA

*Chair of NuLeaf, the Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum, at its last Annual General Meeting on 9 March 2022.  Cllr Moore recieves £5000 per annum. NuLeaf is funded largely by the NDA/NWS with a small contribution from member authorities

*Chair of West Cumbria Site Stakeholder Group since 2005 recieving £6,300 per annum, funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority who also wholly fund Nuclear Waste Services.  The Chair’s renumeration is detailed on the WCSSG website under Cost Reimbursement BUT the Ethics and Standards Committe have falsely stated in their decision to Radiation Free Lakeland exonerating Councillor Moore that there is no pecuniary interest from the WCSSG/NDA to Cllr Moore.  Councillor Moore also states that the WCSSG is concerned solely with low level radioactive waste - this again is false “The WCSSG is an independent body whose role is to provide public scrutiny of the nuclear industry in West Cumbria.”

*Representing Copeland Borough Council on the Mid and South Copeland GDF Community Partnerships.  funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority/Nuclear Waste Services.

Radiation Free Lakeland say they are appalled at the decision by Copeland’s Ethics and Standards Committee to completely whitewash nuclear power and influence over Copeland Borough Council.

  Airbrushing away the undeclared pecuniary interests from Councillor Moore’s three Chairing roles on outside bodies paid for by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority/Nuclear Waste Services is a blatantly undermining faith in the democratic process.  Alongside these vested interests Councillor Moore also holds the Nuclear Portfolio for Copeland and is effectively taking decisions for the full council on the Executive.

The nuclear safety group go on to say that  It is clear Copeland Borough Council (without the consent of the actual full council who have had no vote on this)  are more than happy to be used as a fig leaf to cover the embarrassment of what will be over the coming years a growing assault on the Irish Sea from GDF preparations.

Seismic blasting was merely the first salvo.  

In the last few days of the seismic blasting in August 2022 dead harbour porpoise and seals were seen and photographed on the beach at Drigg and reported by locals to Cetacean Strandings UK.  Displaced harbour porpoises were seen in Whitehaven harbour, unusually near paddle boarders and hundreds of dead jellyfish were washed up at Silloth.

Copeland Borough Council have told Radiation Free Lakeland that:  “There is no right of appeal against the decision of the Standards and Ethics Committee”. 

 


ENDS

 

sent to press 17th November 2022

attachments:

Decision Notice - Radiation Free Lakeland v Councillor David Moore

Photos of harbour porpoise and dead seals washed up at Drigg 18th August 

Correspondence with Cetacean siting re dead strandings 

Notes:

Geophysics specialist Shearwater Geo Services, working for Nuclear Waste Services, completed the first marine geophysical survey off the coast of Copeland, Cumbria, last week (18 August).  https://www.geplus.co.uk/news/survey-into-potential-nuclear-waste-storage-facility-completed-off-cumbria-coast-26-08-2022/

“The West Cumbria Site Stakeholder Group is an independent body whose role is to provide public scrutiny of the nuclear industry in West Cumbria.”  https://wcssg.co.uk/working-group/west-cumbria-sites-stakeholder-group/ 

Chair of NuLeaf https://www.nuleaf.org.uk/about/who-we-are/

Mid-Copeland GDF Community Partnership https://midcopeland.workinginpartnership.org.uk/resources/community-partnership-members/

South Copeland GDF Community Partnership https://southcopeland.workinginpartnership.org.uk/resources/community-partnership-members/

 PETITION Save the Whale and the Snail - Stop Nuclear Waste Services Seismic Blasting the Irish Sea

photo credit https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phocoena_phocoena.2.jpg

Update 6

Marianne Birkby

Aug. 25, 2022

"Successful Seismic Survey" ? The Marine Life Says Otherwise

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all your amazing help in pushing to stop the seismic blasting in the Irish Sea.  I am as devastated as you that we did not manage to stop the seismic blasting but campaign group Radiation Free Lakeland are continuing to actively fight the nuclear dump plans and we are campaigning to change the outdated guidelines on seismic blasting in order to to protect marine life from this practice in future.

With many thanks again

Marianne

More info at volunteer group Radiation Free Lakeland

On the Gov.UK website there is a triumphant message:

“NWS’ first marine geophysical survey off the coast of Copeland, Cumbria, was successfully completed on 18 August. This non-intrusive survey has gathered data to provide a better understanding of the deep geology and supports the search to find a suitable site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).”

Over 50,000 people opposed the seismic survey to test the geology for a deep nuclear dump under the Irish Sea.

The “non-intrusive” seismic survey blasted marine life with sound every five seconds 24/7 for 20 days. There was no public consultation , not even a vote by Copeland Borough Councillors who are supposedly “Partners” in the GDF Community Partnership.

Radiation Free Lakeland have written to the Joint Nature Conservation Conservation Committee urging them to halt all seismic blasting in the UK in marine protected areas. Seismic blasting in marine protected areas would not be allowed in the US who have much more stringent rules on seismic blasting which has been banned in the Atlantic to protect marine life.

Here the seismic survey carried out by Nuclear Waste Services and Copeland Borough Council under the guise of “scientific research” has had impacts that have been witnessed already. Witnesses have seen harbour porpoise displacement, reported the strandings of dead seals and harbour porpoise at Drigg and the strandings of hundreds of dead jellyfish at Silloth. (distressing photos and report of cetacean deaths not published here but sent to the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme)

The seismic survey will have negative impacts on our marine life for the months and years to come. This is the collateral damage from the Government’s policy to foist a deep hot nuclear dump under Cumbria and the Irish Sea.

Marine Pollution Expert Tim Deere-Jones has reflected : ” jelly fish are sensitive and well aware of their surroundings……. Jelly fish have receptors for a wide range of “senses” that respond to touch, light, gravity, chemicals and pressure waves/sound. Sensitivity to sound pressure waves and vibration has been inferred by observational studies of moon jelly fish (Aruelia spp:). Studies have concluded that sound pressure waves/sound are detected and mediated by the equivalent of “sound receptors”.

Laboratory studies have demonstrated that medusae form numerous small crystals, which are collected in sac-like statocyst located at the distal ends of their rhopalia. Rhopalia are complex sensory organs, which have been associated with pulsing, swimming and orientation and that act as gravireceptors, which enable medusae to position themselves in an upright posture after tilting.

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has revealed major injuries in the statocyst sensory epithelium of both jellyfish and coral species after exposure to sound, that are consistent with the manifestation of a massive acoustic trauma observed in other species. The presence of acoustic trauma in marine species like moon jelly medusa (adult forms), shows the magnitude of the problem of noise pollution and the complexity of the task to determine threshold values that would help building up regulation to prevent permanent damage of the ecosystems.

Ref:….. “Evidence of Cnidarians sensitivity to sound after exposure to low frequency noise underwater sources.” Marta Sole et al’. Scientific Reports. Vol 6: article number 37979. Nature. 21st December 2016.s

The seismic blasting has been hailed “a success” by Nuclear Waste Services – the marine life says otherwise https://www.gov.uk/government/news/update-nws-marine-geophysical-survey-successfully-completed







Update 5

Marianne Birkby

Aug. 6, 2022

Complaint to Copeland Borough Council -Seismic Syd and the Nuclear Dump Villains


Dear Friends

Please find below a letter written To the Standards and Ethics Committee of Copeland Borough Council :


Lakes Against Nuclear Dump would like to make two complaints firstly:

Cllr David Moore’s statement on BBC North West  (1st August 2022) in dismissing over 50,000 voices as an  “odd, few.”  


Secondly, Cllr David Moore’s failure to declare interests at the Executive meeting of 12th July at which the Petition of ( then ) nearly 50,000 signatures was presented. 


Background


On the BBC North West broadcast on the 1st August 2022 Councillor Moore referred to over 50,000 people signing to oppose the seismic blasting taking place as "We have had the few odd people and they are in the minority of people that have expressed some concern. We've had the odd few people come in that were concerned and once we'd explained the process that's taking place, they're comfortable with it.”


As well as representing The Partnership of Mid and South Copeland on the BBC Cllr Moore is one of the literally odd few people on the Council Executive who took Copeland Borough Council into the GDF Partnership and endorsed carrying out extremely harmful investigation techniques in the Council’s name such as seismic testing without any consultation with the public or debate and vote by the full council.


Following the Seismic Blasting - Deep Boreholes ?


 Will the deep boreholes which are to follow the seismic blasting be carried out with the same indifference to the democratic process?  Or will all Copeland Borough Councillors rather than the odd few of the Executive be debating and voting on whether or not this hugely damaging borehole investigation to facilitate a deep and very hot nuclear dump under the Irish Sea should go ahead? 



The BBC programme reiterated the GDF Partnership’s claim that the seismic blasting is merely the same as that carried out for wind farms.  The difference is that other developments such as wind, gas, oil, have to go through the full regulatory process and cannot be carried out with an Exemption from the planning regime under the guise of “scientific research.”  The area of seismic blasting being carried out in the name of Copeland Borough Council is of a scale far greater than any wind farm, oil or gas development in the North West and of an impact far greater with blasts of sound equivalent to the shuttle taking off every 5 seconds.



Petition Dismissed by Copeland Borough Council Executive (4 people) Including those with Vested Interests.


We asked for our petition of over 50,000 signatures to be discussed along with the independent report by marine pollution expert Tim Deere- Jones, by the full council.  Instead the petition and overwhelming scientific evidence that the seismic blasting should be halted was dismissed on July 12th 2022 by the Executive Committee, as being of no worth.  


This is appalling behaviour from the Executive made even more so by the fact that David Moore, Deputy Mayor/Deputy Chair of the Executive Committee made no declarations of interest as representing the Council on the Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership or that his wife works (or worked) for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary or that as Copeland’s Portfolio Holder for Nuclear he is actively working to bring new nuclear to Cumbria (without the consent of the public) ““We’ve now got a memorandum of agreement between Sellafield, NDA and Rolls Royce to attempt to bring the first-of-a-kind SMR to the Sellafield site, that will be on land possibly to the south of site, around the Fellside area."   The Sellafield site is to be cleared of nuclear waste in order to make room for further new nuclear and new nuclear wastes.    note: Fellside is the dedicated gas plant at Sellafield which buys in £25M of gas every year in order to keep the wastes cool and for other processes on the Sellafield site.  


HOT nuclear waste no longer cooled but buried under the Irish Sea.



HOT Nuclear Waste = BIG Nuclear Dump Footprint


The nuclear waste which Copeland Borough Council has signed up to bury beneath the Irish Sea would no longer be looked after by millions of pounds worth of gas at Fellside and by millions of gallons of fresh water every day.  The temperature of the buried waste would still be very hot and the thermal heating would escalate post closure (they hope "only" to 100 degrees C after 100 degrees the likelihood of disaster is increased) - this is the sole reason for the enormous footprint of the GDF of 25km.



As key member of the GDF Partnership Copeland Borough Council have published the heat issue in a propagandistic Children’s book called “GDF’s Heroes” with Radioactive Ray: “I’m a nice kid, really.  I just need a long time to cool off underground.”   This inappropriate “nice kid” propaganda is in the Council’s name despite the full council never having had a vote on membership of the GDF Partnership.  



Of course the GDF's Villains are not being published by The GDF Partnership for example: Seismic Syd:  “Hi I’m a nice kid, really.  I blast massive sound into the sea every five seconds to test the geology and deafen dolphins.”



We would like to make two complaints firstly: 



 Cllr David Moore’s statement on BBC North West in dismissing over 50,000 voices as “odd, few.”  The 50,000 are backed by scientific fact rather than hyper-nuclear fantasies.



Secondly, Cllr David Moore’s failure to declare interests at the Executive meeting of 12th July at which the Petition of then nearly 50,000 signatures was presented.  The petition now stands at 51.026 - a number approaching the equivalent of the population of Copeland at 68,000.



Yours sincerely


Marianne Birkby


On behalf Lakes Against Nuclear Dump 


- a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign




Update 4

Marianne Birkby

July 26, 2022

The Battle Continues....

Minke Whale - just one of the species in the Irish Sea off the West Coast of Cumbria

Firstly a massive thank you to all of you who have generously donated and signed the petition against seismic testing in the irish sea.  Without your help Radiation Free Lakeland would not have been able to take these first steps in raising the alarm and trying to stop such a terrible atrocity to our natural world.

Your donations enabled us to cover Leigh Day’s legal team’s discounted fees.  Leigh Day provided us with initial legal advice on the prospects of a judicial review of the Marine Management Oranisation licensing decisions.  That initial advice was an essential pre-requisite to any legal claim. 

The funding covered the legal team’s advice and preparation of a pre-action letter, as well as their analysis of the Marine Management Organisation's and Nuclear Waste Service' responses

Based on Leigh Day’s detailed analysis unfortunately the advice is that the prospects of success did not merit the costs of bringing the judicial review at this stage.   But this is not the end of the road.

A major factor was that the Marine Management Organisation had disclosed key documents very late and only awarded the European Protected Species licence within a few weeks of the proposed start date of the seismic surveys. 

That timetable has made it extremely difficult to launch the judicial review in time to secure an injunction, and without the injunction any legal challenge would serve little purpose, because in all likelihood the seismic survey would have been completed before the legal case was resolved.  Injunctions are in practice only granted when the underlying prospects of success are good.

So this combination of factors has made any judicial review very difficult to proceed with.  

However, this is not the end of the road but the beginning of a long haul. 

We will continue to fight this plan, in which seismic blasting is ‘only’ the first stage, to use the deep geology of the Irish Sea to house the most dangerous nuclear wastes.   

 Thanks to all of you we have stood against the seismic blasting which otherwise would have gone unnoticed, unopposed and under the radar.  The leftover funds from this CrowdJustice campaign will be set aside for future legal cases on the same issue of Geological Disposal, potentially including further Marine Management licencing issues and the impacts of seismic blasting on our increasingly threatened marine life.

Update 3

Marianne Birkby

July 23, 2022

The Long View: Time, Space and Harbour Porpoises

Big Thanks to Everyone donating and sharing information about the hugely damaging plan for Seismic Blasting due to start on August 1st unless we can stop it in the short window we have available.    Seismic blasting would be the first salvo in delivery of a sub-sea nuclear dump. 

1. One of the protected species frequenting the area under threat is the Harbour Porpoise.  

2. In order for the science experiment of a sub-sea Geological Disposal Facility to be monitored correctly there would need to be a constant background radiation level.

3. New solid and liquid wastes from Sellafield continue to be dispersed to the marine environment, accidently and routinely.   Historic and ongoing radioactive wastes are resuspended from the silt into the Irish Sea due to wave action and man-made disturbance.

4. The 1998 study  “Radionuclides  in Harbour Porpoises from British and Irish Coastal Waters”  found  "elevated concentrations in the Irish Sea..”  

 The study also notes that In the Irish Sea radionuclides from Sellafield "may take 2 years to reach the west coast of Scotland and 5-7 years to travel to the Arctic Ocean.” 

5.  Researchers in this field are largely funded by government bodies who have a vested interest in reporting very limited detrimental effects.  Nevertheless it is generally accepted that even low doses of radiation have detrimental impacts on mammals and other biota.  Recent evidence on the risks of very low-level radiation can be found here:   https://www.ianfairlie.org/news/recent-evidence-on-the-risks-of-very-low-level-radiation/

Clearly the science experiment which begins with seismic blasting of the Irish Sea to deliver a Geological Disposal Facility is deeply flawed and ultimately unmonitorable.  

The Irish Sea and Harbour Porpoises need time and space to recover from the existing nuclear waste burden rather than this dystopian plan.






Update 2

Marianne Birkby

July 21, 2022

Seismic Blasting Fallout in Millom and District

image: Millom and District Against the Nuclear Dump

The following extracts are from the Nuclear Free Local Authorities who have provided advice and support to local groups opposing the seismic blasting.  

"Nuclear Free Local Authorities also oppose the Geological Disposal Facility, particularly one beneath the sea, and they also have real concerns over the impact of seismic testing; consequently, they have joined local campaign groups, like Radiation Free Lakeland and Millom and District, in writing to the Marine Management Organisation in opposition to the plan, and they continue to provide advice and support to Cumbrian opponents of the plan."

Opposition to the seismic blasting has proved to be a roller-coaster ride for many - not least the former Millom Town Councillor,  Jan Bridget: 

 “Clearly in raising a few home truths about the nuclear dump, I had opened a can of worms. Some Councillors were determined to be involved in the Community Partnership to access the funding at all costs and they saw me as a threat to this. At the June meeting of full Council, I was ferociously verbally attacked, and then to cap it all a promise made to send a letter I had drafted questioning the seismic surveys was not honoured once the Town Mayor was on holiday and could not intercede. That was the last straw. I resigned”.

Update 1

Marianne Birkby

July 20, 2022

Big Thanks to Everyone Sharing and Donating

A very BIG thanks to all of you donating and sharing.  An incredible £8,119 has already been raised in the first day.  We have a way to go but this is an amazing start.

With your help we have a fighting chance of challenging the outrageous plan by Nuclear Waste Services and Copeland Borough Council ("Geological Disposal Facility Partnership")  endorsed by the Marine Management Organisation.   

The ship commissioned by Nuclear Waste Services,  "Shearwater Bly" is already docked in Ireland and due to start hugely damaging seismic blasting on 1st August to run for 20 days .  We will post an update as soon as we have had a response from the Marine Management Organisation to our letter urging them to inform Nuclear Waste Services that they should halt the plan immediately.

Minke Whale are just one of the Irish Sea species that would suffer from seismic blasting  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz8ZUt9ZFKg

Best wishes

Marianne



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