UK council withdraws from talks to host geological disposal facility at Holderness

28 February 2024

Councillors at the UK's East Riding of Yorkshire Council have voted to withdraw from talks on the possibility of hosting a nuclear geological disposal facility (GDF) at South Holderness. Councillors voted 53-1 in favour of a motion calling on the council to withdraw from the siting process for the facility.

Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), a division of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), is currently seeking a suitable site for a GDF for the UK's legacy radioactive waste. In January, the East Riding 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 possible siting of a GDF.

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.”

She added: "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."

Responding to the development, NWS said it fully respects the council’s decision. “Together with the Working Group Chair, NWS will now take the necessary steps to wind down the South Holderness Working Group and respond to outstanding requests for more information.”

NWS added that it will continue to engage with the other three Community Partnerships currently involved in the GDF siting process and will consider other communities who are interested in learning more about this vital project and the benefits and opportunities it could bring. Three Community Partnerships are currently engaged in the GDF Siting Process, two in Cumbria, Mid-Copeland and South-Copeland, and one in Lincolnshire, Theddlethorpe.

Image: Computer generated image of the proposed geological disposal facility from the terminal at Theddlethorpe to the waste dump under the sea bed (courtesy of Nuclear Waste Services)

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