BEIS have released a new video explaining their policy and the consultation process — it can be viewed here. They have also announced dates for their public consultation workshops. The dates and venues are in the Events section of our homepage. Everyone is welcome to attend these free events, but pre-registration is required by contacting the independent facilitators running the events at firstname.lastname@example.org
Working With Communities consultation: initial view (25 Jan 2018)
Initial comment on today’s publication by BEIS of Public Consultation documents, from GDFWatch Executive Director Roy Payne, who previously advised the Government on it’s engagement strategy:
“Such an important and contentious decision on where to bury our radioactive waste cannot be left purely to politicians, planners and professed-experts – ordinary people need to be involved in that process.
“Today’s consultation is not about what we do with our radioactive waste, but how we find a suitable site to dispose of it. Geological disposal has the same level of international and scientific consensus as Climate Change. While few people would choose to have a GDF near them, there is a recognition the waste facility has to go somewhere. How we choose that site, how we treat the people living there, and what say they have in decision-making, are the core issues on which the Government is now consulting.
“At first sight, today’s consultation lays out a unique and original consent-based approach to developing the UK’s infrastructure. It is also offers a potentially radical new model of how communities can participate in shaping their own social, economic and environmental destiny. It is effectively proposing the creation of a new form of democratic process which allows long-term decisions to be made outside of, and unfettered by, the traditional political cycle of local elections.
“The main concern is the potential back door re-introduction of a Local Authority ‘veto’. If this happens, it would set the clock back five years. It would completely dismiss all the evidence and advice the Government has actively sought, as well as received. Far from empowering communities, it would make a mockery of Ministers’ claim to be placing communities at the heart of the policy. Local Authorities have a central role to play, but hosting a GDF is such an important decision that the community as a whole should decide. It is not for local politicians alone to impose a solution or to prevent the public from even finding out about the issue.
“We would urge the community sector and wider public to get involved in and contribute to the discussion. The broader issues of community and participative democracy were raised earlier this work by the Commission for the Future of Localism. It is quite clear that community rights and the siting of a GDF are too important to be entrusted into the hands of a few politicians.”
GDFWatch will be responding to the consultation documents in more detail once we have had time to digest their contents.
The UK Government published two consultation documents today:
And the Welsh Government published its own Working With Communities consultation document.