GDF Community Partnership Mid Copeland

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Identified Search Areas – understanding the potential

A GDF has to be built deep underground, in solid rock. The rock, along with engineered barriers, play an important part in keeping people and the environment safe while the waste naturally becomes less radioactive. A Search Area in Mid Copeland has been identified which will now be investigated by the developer as part of the Community Partnership which has now formed.

This Community Partnership is for the Mid Copeland Search Area – which includes the electoral ward of Gosforth.

No areas which fall within the Lake District National Park or 2019 extension proposal will be considered to host a GDF.

No areas which fall within current or future coal mines will be considered to host a GDF.

The Copeland GDF Working Group recommended that the investigation initially focuses on the deep geology within the inshore area up to 22km beyond the coast.

Search Areas Map

Illustrative map of Mid Copeland Search Area defined using new ward boundaries from April 2023

Working Group Map

As part of the process to identify a suitable site for a GDF within a willing community, the GDF developer undertook initial discussions with four interested parties which each proposed an area of interest in Copeland. Initial evaluations have been carried out for each area proposed to determine if they have any potential to host a GDF. For a description of GDF siting terms, read here.

Two Search Areas were identified by the Copeland GDF Working Group and the GDF developer has completed further Evaluations for each Search Area identified to determine if they have potential, these areas have now been recommended to be taken forward by Community Partnerships.

It has concluded there may be potential to host a GDF in the identified Search Areas.

The results of these evaluations are available below.

Further work will be required to establish if a GDF could be safely constructed and operated. A period of detailed investigations will be required to narrow down any possibilities within this area and confirm suitability.

Site Evaluation and characterisation

How will you choose a suitable site?

The GDF developer has set out how it will evaluate potential areas and sites to ensure they are suitable for a GDF. There are six siting factors, which cover:

Safety and security – safety and security must be assured and endorsed by independent regulators. A GDF will only be built once the GDF developer, and they, are satisfied it is safe.

Community – communities are at the heart of the process. The developer will consider social and economic opportunities, community wellbeing, and how a GDF can align with the host community’s vision.

Environment – a GDF is a major environmental protection endeavour. Construction will need to meet independent regulatory requirements.

Engineering feasibility – The developer will need to ensure there is scope for sustainable design and the ability to construct and operate a GDF in a location.

Transport – the safe and secure transport of waste, people and other materials.

Value for money – The developer has a duty to ensure that value for money is delivered.


Copeland’s geology

Most of the area under consideration is discussed in the Northern England subregion 4 section of the National Geological Screening for a GDF.

Click on the links for more information.

Northern England subregion 3

Northern England subregion 4

Initial Evaluation Reports