New Chair Of South Copeland GDF Community Partnership Appointed

South Copeland GDF Community Partnership has appointed a new chair with Ged McGrath getting the position.

Mr McGrath has lived in South Copeland for 20 yearsand has a wealth of experience working in and engaging with the local community.

This includes previously owning and operating Millom Post Office, being elected as a local Councillor, and running a tourism business.

Chair of the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership, Ged McGrath, said: “As Chair, I’ll continue to support the establishment of the Community Partnership and take forward the conversation with the community.

“It’s crucially important that residents in the Search Area, the electoral wards of Millom and Black Combe and Scafell, understand that they make the decision as to whether or not they want a Geological Disposal Facility, and the Community Partnership’s role is to ensure that the community has all of the relevant information that they need about the process.

“We’ll now look to develop our membership so that it is reflective of the local community, plan a programme of activities, share information and engage with the community about the potential to host a GDF, and advise on how groups can apply for Community Investment Funding as we continue to explore the subject with the public.

“I am looking forward to meeting with people in the local community and listening to their views, and in the meantime, I encourage anyone who has questions or comments to get in touch.”

Mr McGrath joins South Copeland GDF Community Partnership as an experienced Chair; he is currently Chair of governors for Thwaites Primary School in Millom and Vice Chair at Mayfield School for young people with special educational needs in Whitehaven, as well as Chair for a number of local community groups in Millom.

The Community Partnership formed in December 2021 to take forward discussions about whether South Copeland could be the right place to host a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

Its Search Area includes the Borough electoral wards of Millom and Black Combe & Scafell and its role includes providing information for local people, helping with community discussions, questions and concerns.

A Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) is an underground facility designed to safely and securely dispose of higher activity radioactive waste.

Alongside Ged McGrath, the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership has initial membership which includes Copeland Borough Council, the GDF developer, Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) and local borough and parish councillors.

A GDF requires a suitable site and a willing community.

Deep geology beyond the coast is being considered for siting the underground elements of a GDF.

This means a surface facility on, or near, the coast would provide access to a disposal area deep in rock beyond the coast.

If a suitable site is found in Copeland, a decision which could take 10-15 years, a Test of Public Support to give people a direct say would be held with those living in the wards affected.

Without public support the project would not go ahead.

A community that has a suitable site and takes the opportunity to host a GDF will receive significant additional investment and long-term benefits for future generations, including jobs and skills.

If you would like to find out further information about the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership see here.

Other ways to contact the Partnership include email: gdfinfo-southcopeland@nda.gov.uk or telephone 0300 369 0000.