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Public dialogue project findings reflected in Lords debate on the geological disposal of radioactive waste

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The results of the public dialogue and linked formal consultation informed the detailed planning for radioactive waste geological disposal facilities through the motion for an Infrastructure Planning Order that was considered by a Grand Committee in the House of Lords on 25 February 2015. This was the legislation to allow for the implementation of geological disposal (Hansard GC347).

The public dialogue identified public discomfort with the idea that the decision making body on the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) would be the local council (dialogue report page 12); most saw a role for community representatives drawn from the local community. The dialogue report stresses that "In all discussions participants referred back to the importance of ensuring the views of the 'local community' and 'local people' were heard" (page 14).

These conclusions were reflected in the comments by Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, DECC, 25 Feb 2015, Hansard col GC360. She said:

"When I looked at the process, it was particularly to see how we could better engage with the public and other stakeholders, beyond the elected members. I agree that the role of the elected members is really important but the debate has to reach much further. Those communities that will ultimately be involved must be assured that they have the final say." She went on to say:

"... the consultation has made it clear that the detailed process of how community representation operates from 2016 will set out that all stakeholders, including elected members, will be a part of the process. They will be able to feed in and be involved in looking at the processes before any formal discussions take place"

Further reading:

See related project page: Review of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Siting process