16 June 2024

MP calls for local referendum on nuclear waste proposals

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has called for a local referendum on controversial proposals to site a nuclear waste storage facility in South Holderness.

The region has been selected by Nuclear Waste Services because of its unique geology as a potential site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

Yesterday (Thursday, January 25) Mr Stuart met Dr David Richards, chairman of the working group, to press his residents’ concerns.

Mr Stuart had asked residents on social media for their questions, and Dr Richards answered those he could, promising a follow-up for those that he did not yet have answers for.

Following the meeting, Mr Stuart met Cllr Samantha Whyte (Mid Holderness) to discuss the scheme. He is arranging a further meeting with councillors in affected areas and will speak to parish and town councillors to gauge their views.

Just for engaging in the conversation with NWS, South Holderness could stand to receive £1 million a year.

If the initial studies are successful and exploratory drilling takes place, that could rise to £2.5 million a year for a local community benefit fund.

The site itself would be about one square kilometre at the surface, most likely accessed by a new rail line.

That would lead to a 36 square kilometre facility up to 1,000 metres below ground where the waste would actually be stored.

The project would be very long term, with the initial working group, chaired by Dr Richards, set up to “start the conversation: with residents over the coming six to nine months.

It is likely that the facility itself would be in the consultation and planning phase for another 10 years.

Mr Stuart said: “Everyone in South Holderness is right to be concerned about the possibility of a nuclear waste facility in our area.

“I am too. That’s why I’m very clear that if Nuclear Waste Services want to build its facility at our back doors, it must be with the consent of local people.

“They are required to get local consent and I want that to be the toughest available test: a referendum of residents in the affected area.

“Only once that is agreed will we start to listen to what Nuclear Waste Services have to offer.”

Cllr Whyte said: “I’m grateful to Graham for keeping Holderness councillors informed about this project.

“It absolutely must be for local people to decide whether this is right for them, and that should be through a referendum.”

Dr David Richards, chairman of the Working Group said, “I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to start the conversation with Graham, and the wider community.

“I want to give residents every possible opportunity to have their say on this important project, and am happy to work with the MP, councillors, parish and town councils and all other stakeholders to make sure everyone has the information they need.”