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New Chair appointed to Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership

July 11, 2022

A new Chair has been appointed to the Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership.

Andy Pratt has become the Chair after Mark Cullinan stepped down from the interim role at a meeting of the Partnership on July 4.

Andy, from Holmrook, is married with three children. He runs a milk delivery business and has done for the past 21 years.

He said: “On behalf of the Partnership, I’d like to thank Mark for all of his work and guidance on this important project to date.

“I’m passionate about this area, its people and the caring communities we have here. As Chair of the Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership, I’ll continue to help take forward the conversations which have started about whether Mid Copeland is the right place for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) – what it could mean, listen to questions, discuss concerns and also look at the opportunities.

“We’re still in the very early stages of the GDF programme. If a suitable site is found in Copeland – a process which could take 10-15 years – a decision to develop a GDF here could not be taken until the community in the electoral wards directly affected has had a say and taken a positive Test of Public Support.

“This means the residents in the Search Area will make the decision on whether to proceed further and the Community Partnership will ensure that the community has all the relevant information they need along the way.”

Andy, who will be Chair for an initial 12-month period, is currently councillor for Gosforth and Seascale ward on Copeland Council and will be the councillor representing Millom Without ward on the new Cumberland Council from April next year.

He is Chair of Governors for both Gosforth C of E School and Kirkland Academy and has been for the past 18 years, and also Vice Chair of Drigg and Carleton Parish Council as well as a trustee of Drigg Young Farmers’ Club.

Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership was the first to be formed in the country in November 2021 with a Search Area which includes the electoral wards of Gosforth & Seascale and Beckermet.

Community Partnerships are long-term groups made up of local people, the GDF developer and local authorities to consider the possibilities of hosting a GDF within an identified Search Area. A GDF is an underground facility designed to safely and securely dispose of higher activity radioactive waste.

Deep geology beyond the coast is being considered for siting the underground elements of a GDF. This means a surface facility on, or near, the coast would provide access to a disposal area deep in rock beyond the coast.