Some Cumbrian politicians seem to think the only way to develop the West Cumbrian economy is by expanding the nuclear industry – in short “there is no Plan B”.(1) This means building three new nuclear reactors adjacent to the Sellafield nuclear waste plant, a new plutonium fuel fabrication facility at Sellafield, and an underground nuclear waste dump somewhere in West Cumbria.(2)
West Cumbria & North Lakes Friends of the Earth and No 2 Nuclear Power have teamed up to challenge that idea on this website. We show that we don’t need to rely on new nuclear facilities (producing radioactive waste we don’t know how to ‘dispose’ of) to provide future employment opportunities in Cumbria. A Sustainable Cumbria should be making use of the County’s natural and renewable resources, as efficiently as possible, to contribute to the area’s wellbeing in perpetuity, not building more nuclear facilities whose life spans a few decades but which leave a legacy and a problem for centuries.
This website is linked to Friends of the Earth’s national Clean British Energy Campaign, and is part of our own local campaign for the safe storage of nuclear waste. If follows on from our March 2013 Briefing ‘Towards a Safer Cumbria’, which shows how the government, regulators and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority have neglected nuclear waste in Cumbria.
We issued initial ideas for this website as a report in June 2013 and invited comments from anyone and any institution interested in Cumbria’s future. Many of the ideas we received are included here, and we update the site regularly. But we hope the process will not stop there. Sustainability is also about democratic ways of working and we hope this will continue as a county-wide conversation about the future of one of the most beautiful places in the country.
This site is hosted by West Cumbria & North Lakes Friends of the Earth in collaboration with no2nuclearpower.org.uk – which provides information about nuclear issues but also actively promotes renewable energy.
This website’s aim is to provide ongoing information to support the development of green energy in West Cumbria, building on a project initiated in 2013 ‘Towards a Sustainable Cumbria’.
There are never enough jobs in West Cumbria. Historically the coastal area from Maryport in the north to Whitehaven further south has relied on large scale heavy industry: coal mining, steelworks and more recently the nuclear industry. The problem with this scale of business is that when it ceases, many people become unemployed. And since nuclear power production and reprocessing halted, many jobs have been lost.
The emphasis here is on large numbers of small and medium-sized schemes instead of the big ‘all our eggs in one basket’ approach, where failure is disastrous for the local economy.
Here you will find a range of resources about existing renewable energy schemes in Cumbria, along with innovative schemes from around the world.
Also you’ll find studies which point out how many jobs, and what type of jobs can be generated via green energy and low carbon projects.