Representatives from The Hokkaido Shimbun Press recently met with members of SPAND.Toru Shikoda san, London Bureau Chief and Steven Ivings, London Correspondent had contacted SPAND as they were interested to learn how the new campaign against the siting of a nuclear dump on the Solway Plain was progressing.
John Haywood, Kath Ostell, Vivienne Russell and Don Graham met with Toru Shikoda san and Steven Ivings to give them an opportunity to see an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty whose very existence could be threatened by the siting of a nuclear dump on the Solway Plain. The group spent some time walking out to Grune Point to see the landscape and the wildlife that depends on the environment remaining as it is. Both visitors were taken by surprise at the sheer beauty of the marshland and expressed their understanding why SPAND and local residents were fiercely campaigning. They were particularly interested in the process that was being applied in the UK to find a suitable site. They were dismayed to learn that Government was not placing geology at the top of the selection criteria. They were keen to learn about the activities of small local groups and wanted to know the details of how the SPAND campaign had been conducted. They were impressed to hear that these groups had helped influence Cumbria County Council into saying no in January 2013 to proceeding further down the route to the siting of a nuclear dump in West Cumbria. Having spent some time on the marsh the group retired to the Golf Hotel for refreshments and to continue their discussions. Whilst in Silloth they took many photographs and commented on the beauty of the Green and the local architecture. In fact, they described Silloth as ‘a hidden gem.’ The photograph here was one of a number taken by Vivien, who is a local professional wildlife photographer and writer.
Photograph by Vivienne Russell
THE END OF DEMOCRACY IN CUMBRIA The recent announcement from the government confirms our very worst fears - the nuclear dump in Cumbria is back on the agenda. MRWS2 is about to be unveiled.
SPAND has been keeping an eye on the situation and it comes as no surprise that the government claims to have learned the lessons from its last attempt. Yes, it certainly has. Just move the goalposts to suit your own game plan.
The government announcement on MRWS 2 signals the end of democracy in Cumbria. The key change to the process is that the Government has shifted the responsibility for the decision from Cumbria County Council to the district councils so now Allerdale and Copeland have carte blanche to resurrect the dump.
So where does Silloth and the Solway Plain stand in this new battle? The answer is "in a very strong position indeed." Last time, our community was united and sent clear messages that we won't tolerate nuclear waste being dumped on, under or anywhere near the Solway Plain.
OUR MESSAGE REMAINS THE SAME We came out of the last battle a much stronger community than we were when we went into it. We celebrated together and worked together to promote tourism in Silloth and we have had a wonderful summer. We have gone from strength to strength as a community.
This consultation process claims that unless the councils can demonstrate active support for a dump the process will not move forward. We intend to demonstrate overwhelming public opposition to a dump in Allerdale or anywhere else in Cumbria.