The Economic Case for Geological Disposal

The construction and operational lifecycle of the GDF is expected to be 150+ years. The project could cost up to £20bn, with an additional economic package worth 100s of millions of pounds. Wherever a GDF is located, such a large scale infrastructure project will have a transformative long-term impact on the regional or local economy of the host community.

In resolving this long-term major environmental problem, we can create jobs and opportunities in the here and now.   As the BBC found out when visiting Carlsbad in the US, a GDF provides stable economic activity immune to the ‘boom and bust’ economic cycles associated with most other industrial activity.  Having such a regular, core income is key to developing a more diverse local economic base.  As can be witnessed in industrial and science parks across the country, a single large facility can act as a catalyst for other private and public sector investment.

The economic benefits of a GDF have been recognised and welcomed by local authoritiesbusiness groups and Trades Unions.  The GDF fits very well within the wider debate about economic development, e.g.:

  • long-term infrastructure planning
  • the Government’s industrial strategy
  • regional economic development and structural funding
  • skills and training
  • devolution and devolved decision-making
  • rural affairs agenda
  • green growth strategy

However, the GDF is not just about jobs or new roads and railway lines. The GDF could bring a lot of ‘value add’ benefits, eg:

  • supporting local provision and access to a range of public services (local hospitals, schools, post offices, public transport, etc) by sustaining a residential community over the long-term
  • environmental enhancements, eg by making productive use of the huge volumes of excavated soil
  • enhanced local democracy and citizen involvement in decision-making
  • sustaining the local service economy (hairdressers, restaurants, corner shops, pubs, etc)
  • acting as a catalyst for other industry and investment

It is clear, while the economic opportunities are huge, they cannot be realised until a community feels confident that all their safety and other concerns about the GDF have been properly addressed.