Initial survey results
Thanks to residents in Mid Copeland who took part in a recent survey. Between August and October, a sample of 150 people living in the Mid Copeland Search Area electoral wards of Gosforth & Seascale and Beckermet were asked questions about their awareness of the Community Partnership and geological disposal.
The Community Partnership’s preference was for the surveyors to offer a mixture of on-street surveys (including some taking place at Gosforth Agricultural Show) and telephone, rather than door to door.
The survey was completed to gain an initial baseline measure of awareness, understanding and support of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) across the Search Area.
We asked the independent research consultant, Yonder, to summarise the results, and the Chair of Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership, Andy Pratt, to share his thoughts on the findings.
Three-in-five people taking part in the survey (62%) would support the construction of a GDF in the Mid Copeland Search Area, whilst a quarter (23%) would be opposed.
Of respondents, 79% stated they were able to recall seeing, reading or hearing something about radioactive waste or geological disposal in the past year and, of those, two in three (66%) had done something in response such as spoken to family/friends.
64% were aware that a Community Partnership had formed in November 2021 and four-in-five (80%) said they were aware a Search Area had been identified within Mid Copeland for further investigation of its suitability for a GDF.
67% of residents asked were aware of how the UK’s radioactive waste is stored, 18% however admitted they did not know. 60% identified the accurate description of a GDF, 28% said they had heard of the term GDF but didn’t know what it was.
Two-thirds (65%) supported the national policy to construct a GDF in a willing community, while 16% of those residents asked were opposed to the national policy.
The support for a GDF within Mid Copeland was higher than average among those that had a direct connection with the nuclear industry.
Residents had an appetite for more information relating to safety (40%) and the potential impact on jobs/local economy (36%). A quarter (26%) wanted more information related to human health, whilst a similar proportion (24%) wanted general information about the approach/geological disposal.
Almost half (45%) wanted to receive more information through the post (eg leaflets/newsletters). Two-in-five (38%) said they wanted to receive more information online, whilst one-in-three (35%) wanted more information on Facebook. 28% said they wanted to attend in-person meetings/events.
Two-in-five (44%) cited the council as the source of information that they would like to hear more from regarding geological disposal and the siting process. 28% wanted to receive more information from environmental groups, whilst the same proportion wanted to hear more from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Andy Pratt, Chair of the Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership said: “Thank you to everyone who took part in this first survey on behalf of our Community Partnership. This gives us an initial insight into how people are thinking, whether they have found the information provided so far useful, what further information they may require on which subjects going forward and it allows us plan accordingly.
“We’re still at the beginning of our engagement on this long-term programme, the hundreds of conversations we have had so far over this past year have been many and varied around the subject of geological disposal and the Community Partnership. This survey provides us with a snapshot of further feedback from 150 members of the Mid Copeland community.
“We are aware that this area has a lot of informed people as we’re geographically at the centre of the nuclear industry. However, there are also many people who aren’t sure exactly what a GDF is and would like more general information, as well as around certain subjects such as safety and jobs.
“Our role as a Community Partnership is to provide that information for local people to ensure they have everything they require when considering the possibility of hosting a GDF and this survey feedback will help us to do that.”
Between 10 August and 5 October, 150 residents (aged 16+) of the electoral wards of Gosforth & Seascale and Beckermet were interviewed (which includes places such as Drigg, Carleton, Haile, Ponsonby, Calderbridge and Thornhill). The interviews were conducted by Red Research on behalf of Yonder. Quotas and weights were employed to ensure the sample was representative in terms of the relative populations of the two wards and the age and sex profiles of the demographics in question. Yonder is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Yonder was formerly known as Populus and changed trading names in October 2020. For more information, see www.yonderconsulting.com.