Agenda item

Public Participation

There were no questions, petitions or statements at the time of despatch




Ms Marianne Birkby attended to present a petition from Radiation Free Lakeland, which contained 472 signatures.  The petition was urging Cumbria County Council to fully recognise that nuclear power was not the ‘solution’ and to include a ‘No Nuclear’ clause in its climate change planning, and asked the Council to include a no nuclear clause in its Climate Emergency planning.  .


Ms Birkby said new nuclear, including so called ‘small modular reactors’ would increase the heat on the planet, and that nuclear was a major part of the problem, and not part of the solution.  The view of Radiation Free Lakeland was that the installation of small nuclear reactors in Cumbria would only make matter far worse, far faster.  Ms Birkby then went on the outline the reasons for this.


Mr Birkby said people were watching with increased frustration and horror as climate emergency resolutions were adopted by councils, which left the door wide open to nuclear, and she urged Cumbria County Council to fully recognise that nuclear power was not the ‘solution’. 


The Cabinet Member for Economic Development thanked Ms Birkby for her presentation and gave the following response:-


The Council has made clear its commitment, through the Joint Public Health Strategy, to work in partnership to tackle climate change and to reach net zero carbon emissions. In September 2019 Cumbria County Councillors unanimously supported a motion “to become a ‘carbon neutral’ county and to mitigate the likely impact of existing climate change.  We also called upon the Government to produce a clear plan of action, backed up by sufficient resources, to address this existential threat. It is clear that very significant changes will be required in Cumbria, and across the UK, to bring about net carbon zero. These changes will include all elements of how we live, work, travel, manage our land and how we meet our future energy needs.


Cumbria County Council along with District Councils, Cumbria LEP and the National Park are represented at a county-wide climate change group. The group in its early stages has jointly commissioned a baseline carbon audit for the county. The aim of this study is to provide a detailed analysis of the total carbon footprint of our county and to set out the types of interventions that will be necessary to reach a point of being net carbon zero.


The Government has choices and decisions to make about how we move towards a low-carbon economy and will need to decide whether nuclear will continue to have a role in the future UK energy mix.  A clear national energy strategy is urgently required if we are, as a nation, to achieve net carbon zero. Such a strategy will need to review and make recommendations on the role that potential new nuclear power may have to meeting our current and future energy requirements, at least until such a time that sufficient renewable energy sources and associated storage are in place.


The development of Small Modular Reactors is a relatively new concept. Although the exact detail of the size and scale of “Small Modular Reactors” will vary, it is likely that in the first instance they will be seen to be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, where the decision is taken by the Secretary of State rather than by local planning authorities.


The Council will continue to collaborate with our six district authorities and our national park colleagues to become a carbon-neutral county.’


Mr Wielkopolski arrived at the meeting at this point.