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Call for Referendum on Holderness Nuclear Waste Site Proposal

Thursday, 1 February 2024 06:00

By Joe Gerrard, Local Democracy Reporter

Beverley and Holderness’ MP Graham Stuart has called for a public vote on whether a nuclear waste site should be built in Holderness amid opposition from some living in the area.

The MP said that the Nuclear Waste Services, the Government Agency which unveiled the waste site proposals last week, should be forced to make their case directly to the public. He is asking residents to sign and share the petition at www.grahamstuart.com/NV4H, knock on doors and display a poster to encourage others to join the campaign.

Joanne Turner, whose Change.org petition calls for the site to be rejected, said the beautiful south Holderness area should not be turned into a dumping ground for hazardous waste.

Nuclear Waste Service’s siting lead Steve Reece said a ‘Test of Support’ from the public was needed before proposals went ahead, but the form of that, whether it would be a referendum or otherwise, hasn’t been decided yet.

It comes after the proposals for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF), which could operate for up to 175 years, were announced on Thursday, January 25.

It meant that south Holderness has joined three other places being considered for such a facility, along with the East Lindsey area of Lincolnshire and two locations in Cumbria.

The proposals would see a network of underground vaults and tunnels built hundreds of metres underground to store nuclear waste which would be transported there in secure containers.

Nuclear Waste Services has said such facilities are designed to be shielded from the wider environment by natural rock formations deep underground, making them safe.

Mr Reece said that there would have to be demonstrable proof that the majority of people in areas including south Holderness wanted one before any detailed plans are drawn up.

But Mr Stuart said Nuclear Waste Services had still not said how public consent would be measured.

He added it had prompted him to launch his Nuclear Vote 4 Holderness campaign.

The MP said:

“The people of Holderness deserve the final say on our future.

“That doesn’t mean a telephone survey, it doesn’t mean a few meetings in village halls, important as those are.

“We should have a meaningful say in the future of our area and before we start talking about anything else, we need a copper-bottomed guarantee that we will have a referendum on the nuclear waste facility.”

South East Holderness ward’s Cllr Lyn Healing said news of the proposals had come as a shock to people in the area.

Cllr Healing said:

“It’s going to need a lot of thought before we decide if this is something we want.

“And there must be a simple, yes or no referendum in the affected area.”

Meanwhile, Joanne Turner said in her petition (https://www.change.org/p/reject-nuclear-waste-disposal-in-the-east-riding-of-yorkshire) that she was deeply concerned about the effects the plans would have on her community, especially young people.

She said:

“Our beautiful region should not become a dumping ground for hazardous waste that could potentially harm its residents and disrupt its natural beauty.

“It’s time we stand up against this proposal and protect our home, our health, and our future generations.”

Holderness is on a shortlist with three other sites for the UK’s GDF, an underground facility to store the waste from power, medical, industrial and defence nuclear processes for at least 175 years.

The site would only be chosen if it is the best site from a geological perspective and has consent from the local population.

The method of consent has not been decided, hence the MP’s call for a referendum to be enshrined in the process before any further discussion.

If the discussions continue, Holderness could receive around £1 million per year for local causes just for engaging in the conversation. If the geology proves to be suitable, that could rise to £2.5 million per year.

It would be around ten years before a decision is made on the facility and the vote would take place.

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