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Wrexham Council rules out allowing radioactive waste to be dumped in county borough

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, May 15th, 2019.

Wrexham Council has ruled itself out of allowing nuclear waste to be dumped in the county borough.

Executive board members unanimously rejected hosting a geological disposal facility at its meeting yesterday morning.

Earlier this year the Welsh Government published a policy framework document stating that the geological disposal of Higher Activity Radioactive Waste will only be sited in Wales if a community is willing to host it and a suitable and safe site can be found

In April Wrexham.com reported that the First Minister Mark Drakeford had made it clear that no local authority comes forward then there will be no disposal sites in Wales.

Speaking at the time, the first minister said: “This radioactive waste has been created by us. It is in the lifetime of people in this Chamber where this waste has been created.

“We do have a responsibility to deal with the consequences of what we have done, rather than simply saying that we will play no part in bearing that responsibility, that somebody else must do it instead, or that we hand it on to future generations that come after us to clear up the mess that we have left. Because that mess is there; it has already been created”

“We will not and have not identified such sites, and we don’t intend to do so.

“It is for any local community that is willing to come forward to do so, and if no community comes forward, there will be no disposal here in Wales.”

Leader of Wrexham Council, Cllr Mark Pritchard, later confirmed that a report ruling Wrexham out as a possible option to become a nuclear waste dump would be coming before the executive board.

Such a report was up for discussion, with Cllr Pritchard stating that he was “seeking members agreement that the council will not support hosting a geological disposal facility in the county borough.”

He added: “The disposal of radioactive waste is a devolved matter and the Welsh Government has developed and published the policy framework on the disposal of radioactive waste in Wales.

“The policy is based on a community or communities being willing to host the disposal of a facility within their community ward.

“Any formal decision on siting will only take place following a test of the public support and there is expectation that a community partnership would be established to wider the wider community interest and they would include participation from local authorities, community councils and residents in that ward.

“To date the council has not been invited to consider any potential sites by any community council across Wrexham.

“I am more than happy to move the report that we give a clear indication that the hosting of such a site within Wrexham will not be supported by this council.”

Cllr Joan Lowe, added: “I fully support the leader’s recommendation and I feel at this very early stage we should kill it dead. I don’t think it is something we should even have to consider.”

Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Dana Davies, said: The labour group fully support the recommendations in this report and very much welcome it.

“In this county we have a huge underground network of interlinked mining tunnels due to our proud history of coal mining.

“With this in mind I don’t think 52 elected members plus all experienced officers that we have got, can guarantee the ability to seal that facility within the interlinked tunnels that go on for miles underneath us.

“There will be an issue there of not being able to guarantee any radioactivity in the future. Also we couldn’t eliminate risk of disruption with any future development or infrastructure.

“For the labour group and the council this geological disposal facility is not in the best interest in our community and pleased to see this report come in front of us in a timely manner.”

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