The future of the nuclear industry in the North West (HC 361-i)
North West Regional Committee 23 Feb 2010
Evidence presented by National Skills Academy for Nuclear, North West Universities Association, Scottish Power, Copeland Borough Council, Cumbria Vision, Lake District National Park, Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment and Nuclear Free Local Authorities England Forum.
Q4 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): When did we last construct a nuclear power station in the United Kingdom?
Rupert Steele: The last one was Sizewell B, which was in the late 1980s through to the early 1990s.
Q5 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): The vast majority of people who worked on that have probably retired. Isn't the reality that, if we are to build more nuclear power stations, a lot of the work force will be international?
Rupert Steele: I think that the design work force will primarily be international at the early stages. Clearly, we and our consortium partners GDFSuez, and to a lesser extent Scottish and Southern Energy, will be following international developments in these new international designs. I don't see the physical construction work force-the bulk of the work-being international. Clearly, at Sellafield, around the 1990s we had the major project with THORP. Since that, a number of other facilities have been built on that site.
Q6 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): But not to the extent that you are talking about with the three nuclear power stations?
Rupert Steele: We envisaged that we would need a bigger work force, indeed. But I don't see the bulk work force necessarily being brought in from Belgium, because they haven't built a nuclear power station there for quite a long time either. So I think the bulk work force will be home grown and we will be working closely with Julie and her organisation and others to achieve that.
Professor Boxall: May I follow up on that? It comes back to another point that you made, Mr. Martlew-that a lot of the retirees from the industry are now being captured by universities and being used as curriculum providers on university courses. That knowledge isn't being lost. Eventually it will be lost, because those ladies and gentlemen will unfortunately pass from among us, but we're making every attempt we can at the moment to get them engaged with the provision of specialist nuclear engineering and nuclear technology courses within a university environment.
Q21 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): The thing that is obvious but hasn't been said is the fact that you can recruit so well. Is it not the case that it is a very well-paid industry?
Rupert Steele: We have not set our pay conditions for our work force, but it is a highly skilled industry and we would expect remuneration to reflect that.
Q22 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): You are saying that there is no skills shortage because people want to work in an industry that is well-paid?
Rupert Steele: There is a lot of work to be done to get the skills in place.
Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): That is a politician's answer, Mr. Steele.
Rupert Steele: I shall take that as a high compliment. Clearly, it is a well-skilled industry that will pay appropriate wages for the level of skill. We have a lot of work to do with the age profile. The image of the industry might have discouraged people from joining it in years gone by, but that is changing now. People do not see it as a sunset industry, but as something that is important and worth participating in. We look forward to being a good employer that our staff will value.
Q27 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): The industry is a traditional one. We are seeing demands for higher skills. How do you think you are addressing the gender gap?
Julie Maykels: There is an issue with the gender gap. You can look at the figures: I think that about 75% of the people working in the nuclear sector at the moment are male. Traditionally, it has been dominated in that way, but a few things are coming forward now that are of real interest and are positive moves. We have a young generation network of under 34-year-olds. The make-up of that group is a 50:50 male-female split, so that is a really positive move.
We have some really positive role models coming through. We've just had our awards ceremony for apprentice of the year and foundation degree student of the year, and in the North West our apprentice of the year was a female electrical craftsperson and our foundation degree student of the year was female. It's good to have those role models coming through. We can use them in all the work that we do with schools and universities on the opportunities for females within the nuclear sector. It is a challenge, but there are some positive steps in the right direction that we need to build on.
Q28 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I'm sure you would say that but, Mr. Steele, what's your organisation doing about this?
Rupert Steele: Clearly, the attractiveness of science and engineering careers to females is an issue that affects us across the whole of our business-not just this project but the other parts of our electrical business. We've been conscious of this and the importance of addressing it through the education system to try to dispel the stereotype that this is not work that should be attractive to women. We see no reason why it shouldn't be and we're keen to see a gender balance.
Q29 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Are you taking positive steps or are you just waiting for it to happen?
Rupert Steele: I will have to get back to you on precisely what ScottishPower is doing, but I'm confident that we are doing what we can.
Q30 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I want to come back to an earlier point that I made when I asked whether it was a well-paid industry. The answer is yes, it is. Perhaps it's none of your business, but how will you ensure that you don't denude other industries in the area of the skills that they need?
Rupert Steele: I guess I would answer that in economist-speak, which is to say that there's a market for workers and if workers can add more value working for us than working for somebody else, that's the market operating as it should. Clearly, we're not going to go round riding roughshod over our neighbours, because it's very important in this business to be a good neighbour and to work well with other people, but if you have attractive, well-paid careers to offer, you might get a better choice than if you don't.
Q31 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I understand that from your point of view. I say this because I represent a constituency that is 40 miles away from Sellafield and its major industry is food processing, which can't afford to pay the money that you pay in the nuclear industry. Perhaps it doesn't get the Government support that the nuclear industry gets. Ms Maykels, how are you going to tackle this? How will we tackle the issue of the skills that, due to the market forces that have been described, will disappear from the food processing industry, for example, into the nuclear industry?
Julie Maykels: I don't think we're going to tackle that. There is a National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing. I think that was set up at about the same time as the National Skills Academy for Nuclear. I know from meeting its regional manager that it's involved in an awful lot of activity in terms of recruiting and restructuring the work force and upskilling and reskilling. From the skills academy point of view, we would be looking to support other skills academies in the network and to pass on good practice and so on to help them to achieve what they need to achieve for their sector, but ultimately our role is very much about the nuclear sector and world-class skills for that sector.
Q32 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I understand that you are probably not the right people to ask, but this is probably the only soap box I am going to have. With a place such as Cumbria, the food industry has moved to another part of the country. Therefore, it could well happen that we will not get any extra jobs whatsoever from you coming, unless we can meet the skills gap on a wider basis. Perhaps we need to take that up with the Learning and Skills Council.
Julie Maykels: From my personal knowledge of speaking at the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing, I would say that I think that it might be that some of the skills they are looking to attract are not at the same level. Frequently, they have been looking to take on apprentices, but maybe only up to level 2 or 3, and not necessarily to take them through that, because of the work requirements. I suppose that is something that might be a consideration, but that is just from personal knowledge.
Professor Boxall: The big issue in west Cumbria has been the reskilling of the process workers at Sellafield. If reprocessing stops, then from 2012 to 2019, there is a projected decrease in employment rates at Sellafield of 66% from 12,000 down to 4,000. Getting that work force reskilled is the big thing to deal with first, rather than poaching from other areas.
Q33 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I am glad that you have brought that figure up, because there is the issue of reprocessing. In fact, one, two or three nuclear power stations on the west coast will not actually balance that out, will it?
Professor Boxall: I think the numbers that Rupert mentioned suggested that the post-construction operation needed about 3,000 people to actually run the stations. Divide that by 10 across the UK, and that is about 300 people a station, although he will correct me if I'm wrong. So probably not, no. The reprocessing argument is an argument that is yet to be had.
Q34 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): There is an argument over the issue of the nuclear waste as well.
Professor Boxall: Yes, there is that as well. There is also the deep geological repository, and the work at CORWM
Q40 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Something we haven't touched on is that not everywhere wants nuclear facilities, because of the perception of the potential consequences. How do you think that the communities that take these facilities should be rewarded? What sort of infrastructure improvements should there be for that? If you look at the French example, you can see that they do very well out of it, don't they? All we talk about are better roads and some way of getting the electricity out.
Rupert Steele: I think that, judging from the reaction in west Cumbria when we made the announcement about purchasing the land adjacent to Sellafield, the general view and feedback is very positive. Obviously, you will be speaking to a representative from Copeland later and they will speak for themselves, but my understanding is that there was a high degree of welcome for our proposal. I also think the economic benefits to the area will be of great importance to our neighbours and stakeholders.
It is absolutely right that we study transportation and issues like it. Whether there should be some further rewards for the communities that host these things is a matter for political debate. The economics of nuclear power is not such that it can support significant flows of this kind, so in effect, if there were going to be further rewards for people in the locality of power stations, that would need to be paid for by an extra charge on consumers. I think that is a matter upon which there can be a debate. We will follow whatever conclusion it reaches.
Q44 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): You mentioned in your evidence, Mr. McMorrow, that there has been a decline in the traditional industries, which has been going on for as long as I can remember, but there is also likely to be a significant decline in the numbers at Sellafield. What will the effect be on your area of not getting nuclear power stations?
Fergus McMorrow: The projections we are working to, although slightly out of date, are that over the next few years-I won't put a date on it-the expectation is that the number of jobs on Sellafield site will decline from about 12,000 to about 4,000. A significant trigger for change is the ending of the reprocessing contracts at Sellafield. Obviously, it is a major issue when you consider that about 50% of all Copeland's jobs are on the site at Sellafield and the vast majority of the rest are local services. There really aren't many other significant employers that are not local services in the area. So it is a very dominant industry in the area and it is absolutely vital for the economy.
Q45 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): We have heard that if you get three stations, that in itself would not take up the slack from the loss at Sellafield. Is that the case?
Fergus McMorrow: Absolutely. Our expectation is that if three stations happened it would be a part in a jigsaw of a future plan for the area. Where it could provide significant benefits for us is if you had three stations developed in a phased programme over a long period of time. Then the number of construction jobs created could do a lot to offset the decline in the Sellafield site, and if nothing else, would buy us a significant amount of time, diversifying the economy and introducing other employment initiatives.
Q46 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): You mentioned it was a jigsaw. What is the other major part of the jigsaw?
Fergus McMorrow: There are various plans in terms of trying to move the nuclear industry in Copeland from a site-based industry, based on the Sellafield site, to a centre of excellence in nuclear, providing and selling services to the new nuclear renaissance which is becoming worldwide. There is a lot of expertise in the area. Obviously there is the National Nuclear Laboratory. There is higher education investment taking place in the area. So the plan in the future is to develop the nuclear industry, but not reliant on one site, but to diversify within the sector and then use the expertise there to diversify into other sectors. In addition to that there are sectors like the tourism sector and other sectors that we would want to develop.
Q47 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): You haven't mentioned the storage of nuclear waste.
Fergus McMorrow: We currently store nuclear waste and that is part of the employment of our area-storage, conditioning and packaging. There is an issue in terms of the long-term deposition of nuclear waste on depository which the community will need to take a view on in the future. We are involved in a process of discussion on that, but there are no decisions at the moment.
Q48 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): May I turn to you, Mr. Leafe? We've got this great enthusiasm for nuclear developments on the west coast. How do you think that impacts on the tourist industry within the national park?
Richard Leafe: There are a couple of issues there. The first thing to say is that the park authority is not enthusiastic for three new nuclear sites in west Cumbria. We fully understand and support the need for maintaining the nuclear industry. We understand that that is an essential component of achieving sustainable development on the west coast, but we feel that two of the sites, at Braystones and Kirksanton, have unacceptable impacts on the national park, both alone and, particularly, in combination with two others.
Q49 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Are any of these sites in the national park?
Richard Leafe: None of them are in the park.
Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I didn't think they were.
Richard Leafe: The Kirksanton site is right up against the boundary of the park, and all of them are pretty close. I think the furthest is about 1.5 km away; that would be the Sellafield site. But when you are considering views from the park out on to that magnificent open space-
Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): If you're standing on the fells and looking towards the Isle of Man.
Richard Leafe: Yes. The notion of three large nuclear facilities there, we think, would have a cumulative impact that would be detrimental.
You asked about the tourist industry. The tourist industry within the park, on the western fringes, is a fairly fragile beast at the best of times. It rightly has potential to grow, and ideas about expansion. I think there are risks to that growth if there is a strong perception that that part of Cumbria and the coast is given up to the nuclear industry. There are some risks around the growth of tourism in that area. That is the way I would put it.
Q50 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I realise that the planning board isn't really the tourist board, but in fact, that argument has been put for the last 50 years, that I can remember. The west coast has never really benefited from the tourist industry, has it?
Richard Leafe: No, I think that's absolutely right. We're not the tourist board, but we share the aspirations of the tourist industry. We think there is great potential for growth. The western part of the national park has some of the most fantastic mountainous and lake scenery that we've got in this country and some of the best bits of the park. Certainly, we're supportive of the aspirations to increase that.
I think the transport infrastructure is a critical element of that. You questioned the previous speakers about what key infrastructure is needed to support the growth of the nuclear industry. From a tourism perspective-and indeed from a low-carbon, climate change perspective-looking at the rail infrastructure of west Cumbria would be a very important thing to do. That may bring benefits for the communities in allowing for the first time-this always staggers me-people to make journeys into the south-west side of the national park on a Sunday, which you currently can't do. There are real opportunities for the tourist industry if we get that infrastructure.
Q51 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): You sound like you're advocating going from Windermere to Keswick by rail. Is that the case?
Richard Leafe: From Windermere to Keswick? That would be quite a challenge.
Q52 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Can we come to a general question? Do you think the Government are doing enough to develop the nuclear industry in the North West?
David Hayes: They're doing a large amount on the national stage. Obviously, the national policy statement is in the right direction. We believe that the process of the Infrastructure Planning Commission is very much in the right direction. Clearly, the Government will need to send the right signals to the industry for the further development of nuclear power. That may be around the modification of electricity markets and carbon prices or carbon taxes to provide the right climate so that industry is confident to invest in the nuclear industry, but we're certainly very pleased with the direction in which Government are moving, and we get a large amount of help from the Northwest Regional Development Agency at the regional level in terms of helping along the nuclear industry there.
Q53 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): That's good, if you could perhaps develop on it, but what you are really saying is that the private sector will not develop the nuclear industry unless the Government have the commitment. There's the commitment, and money's going to have to go in. Isn't that the case, Mr. Hayes?
David Hayes: In the current climate, that's got to be an issue.
Q54 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): But even without the current climate, the issue of the market is that nuclear could well be long-term, but there isn't a lot of money in just going and building a power station privately at the moment, is there?
David Hayes: I think what you have at the moment is three significant consortiums-the Iberdrola consortium, RWE and E.ON joined together as Horizon and EDF-who have all given a public commitment to develop new nuclear power in England and Wales by 2025. So the first signs are there, but clearly they will be looking for something from the Government, I guess, in order to convince them that the economic conditions are right. That could be around the market. The Government have made it clear that they won't subsidise new nuclear power, quite rightly-we believe that the cost of it should be borne by the private sector-but there is obviously a debate to be had between the industry and the Government on what exactly the conditions are going forward.
Q55 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): You mentioned the supportive role that the Northwest Development Agency has played. There is a proposal, of course, by one political party to do away with that. Do you think that would hamper the progress of the nuclear industry in west Cumbria?
David Hayes: That is obviously for any future Government. One party has-
Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): But you've said they've been very supportive.
David Hayes: Exactly, yes. It is part of one party's political programme to abolish such bodies, but certainly we have found the party very supportive in terms of encouraging the manufacture of nuclear components in the North West and encouraging the supply chain by providing funding as seedcorn to promote development. They are playing a very helpful role in establishing the North West as the Government's low-carbon economic area and the seedlings of a North West nuclear industry cluster.
Q56 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): So basically they did help in the regional supply chain?
David Hayes: Yes, indeed so.
Q57 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Can we come back to you, Mr. McMorrow? It is suggested that there will be 5,000 construction jobs. How do we come to that figure?
Fergus McMorrow: We have not done any original research on that. I think we are basically using the 4,000 figure that has been used by various parties and that comes from experience elsewhere, and we are making the assumption that there will be other indirect jobs as a result of that, given the long construction period. So we see the potential of 5,000 jobs on that basis.
Q58 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Just as a supplementary to that, you perhaps heard the earlier question about infrastructure and what the community should gain-other than jobs-from having the nuclear industry. Has Copeland got an agenda on that?
Fergus McMorrow: Our view is that the transport infrastructure in Copeland needs upgrading significantly, as a priority. The existing transport infrastructure is not sufficient even for our existing sites, and certainly not for additional investment. So we would be looking to ensure that the appropriate long-term investments are made in transport infrastructure. Some of that would be linked to the development of a new nuclear power station, to whatever was required from a planning point of view to make that effective. That would not be all of it, but it would be part of a jigsaw in terms of a longer-term upgrading of the infrastructure.
Q59 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): One final point. Health care is always a problem in Cumbria because we have two district general hospitals. Do you think that the nuclear industry should ensure that there is a good district general hospital in west Cumbria?
Fergus McMorrow: I'm not entirely sure that it is the nuclear industry's task to do that, but I think it's important that the Government do that as they look at the bigger picture in terms of growth and investment in west Cumbria and the need to provide appropriate health services to support that investment and growth, and the nation's economic development.
Q73 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Mr. Leafe made a comment about the wider implications of having three nuclear power stations on the west coast. I am old enough to remember the Windscale fire, and I worked in the food industry during Chernobyl. To be honest, gentlemen, as I just said, my major industry is food processing, and if there's anything like a minor incident at Sellafield or the new nuclear power stations, the food industry in my constituency will come to a standstill.
Don't you think that we should be consulted on a wider area than just yourselves, as it will have that impact? It will have a major impact on the agriculture industry, because nobody will buy. As we know, there are still parts of the fells on the west coast where you can't bring your sheep down and sell them because of Chernobyl. Don't you think you're being a bit narrow in your views about this?
David Hayes: I think you're right that the cumulative impact of the development of three new nuclear power stations in the same time frame is an issue that needs serious consideration. The Government have said that as part of their work on the national policy statements they would need to give that consideration. It's obviously an issue not just in terms of health and safety, but in terms of whether the infrastructure is sufficient.
Q74 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): But I am mainly concerned about health and safety.
David Hayes: The view we've taken generally now is that we believe only the Sellafield site is fully capable of deployment by 2025, now that RW has given up its grid connection agreement for Kirksanton and Braystones. We believe that is probably the only one of the three Cumbria sites now likely to be developed by 2025. As Fergus was saying earlier, we believe that through the co-operation of the Sellafield site with the existing emergency planning arrangements, and the co-operation between that site and the Iberdrola consortium, sufficient health and safety standards will be put in place through the regulatory standards.
Fergus McMorrow: Can I just make a clarification? It's not Copeland borough council's view that the three sites shouldn't remain in the national policy statement, and it's not the borough council's view that they couldn't be developed within the time period. Our view is that we support all three sites remaining in.
We think that the Sellafield site is the best site, but we think that there is not sufficient information to allow the sites at this point in time, because there's a lot of work to be done on deliverability and on the impacts. It's very important to the community that there is new nuclear power development in the area. At this point, the borough council would certainly want to keep those options open until there's more clarity about the details of how the sites would be developed.
Q75 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I'm confused, and it's probably my own fault, because I probably haven't been following. Will the planning process for this be a matter for the Infrastructure Planning Commission, the county council or yourselves?
Fergus McMorrow: It will be the Infrastructure Planning Commission that makes the decision, but the expectation will be that a lot of the detailed planning work will be resolved between the developer and the local authority before the application-
Q76 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Which local authority?
Fergus McMorrow: Copeland borough council.
Q77 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Will it be the county, or Copeland?
Fergus McMorrow: We will work with Cumbria county council. We're working together on this already because the implications are wide. We are involving other local authorities in discussions, but at this stage there isn't much real, hard information to get to grips with. But we recognise that there are wide implications and we need to involve a wide range of local authorities in the issues as we move forward and as things unfold.
Q79 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I am a bit surprised. You are not suggesting that we put wind turbines in the national park, are you?
Richard Leafe: I am, but small ones.
Q80 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): To be honest, I find the idea of you objecting to looking out from the fells to the nuclear power station but having rows and rows of wind turbines on some of the fells difficult to accept.
Richard Leafe: I wouldn't go as far as to say that there should be rows and rows of commercial-scale wind farms on the fells. I am thinking of small-scale, almost farm-scale.
Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Ones that don't contribute a lot to the grid.
Richard Leafe: No, but ones that do contribute to making those communities in the remoter areas of the national parks that are already off-grid more sustainable in the future. Then they would not be dependent on oil, which will run out or go up at some point in the future.
Q81 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): The majority of my constituents would not be at ease with the idea of putting wind turbines in the national park, to be honest.
Richard Leafe: I think there is a difference between large-scale industrial wind farms, and small-scale micro-renewable, which is appropriate in terms of size in the national park.
Q82 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Is this the policy of the board?
Richard Leafe: It is indeed, yes. Of course, there is an existing special planning document on wind for Cumbria as a whole that recommends for larger schemes that protected landscapes-the national parks and the areas of outstanding natural beauty-are avoided, as well as the immediate views within and without. However, Cumbria has a large proportion of the wind resource, and we need renewable energy, so we have to take a few risks around the boundaries of those protected areas with that kind of infrastructure to get the carbon benefits that we seek.
Q98 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Gentlemen, I respect your views and understand that you are anti-nuclear, so it doesn't really matter what the consultation is going to be, because you will be opposed to it, as that is what you believe. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. You are also against the building of nuclear submarines in Barrow, aren't you? I used to be on the county council, so I know the organisation CORE very well. You are against the building of nuclear power stations.
Martin Forwood: I think CORE would certainly be against nuclear submarines, but that has never been part of our campaign as such.
Q99 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): What I'm saying is that we have two gentlemen who oppose new nuclear power, and both of you oppose THORP.
Martin Forwood: Yes.
Q100 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I understand that. So what we're really talking about is a policy that would depopulate west Cumbria and would certainly create deprivation that would probably kill more people than nuclear power ever has. That is the reality of what you're about.
Ralph Pryke: Mr Martlew, I am sure your memory goes back to the '80s, when the Lucas Aerospace workers produced a very credible alternative to the British military nuclear option and said that we didn't have to have nuclear weapons in this country. If we are serious-particularly this year, when the nuclear non-proliferation treaty is being renegotiated-about non-proliferation, we should not be renewing our nukes.
Q101 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I am not disputing your beliefs at all. What I am saying is that the consequences of the policies you are pursuing will bring depopulation and deprivation to west Cumbria. If you look at the area, the highest-paid district council area in the county is Copeland and the second is Barrow. The poorest is the one that relies on tourism. That would be the effect of getting rid of nuclear power on the west coast, would it not?
Martin Forwood: I wouldn't agree at all. I cannot see where this depopulation is going to come from simply by not having a programme of new reactors in west Cumbria.
Q102 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): You wouldn't build nuclear submarines in Barrow, you wouldn't build the new nuclear power station and you oppose THORP, so where would the work be?
Martin Forwood: The work is at Sellafield. It is already going on with THORP, which should never have gone ahead in the first place. We know those jobs are probably safe until almost 2020, and perhaps even up to 2020, given how the plant is operating at the moment. Even with no new build, you have Sellafield operations going on, rightly or wrongly, until 2020. That will not affect the population and there will not be a massive exodus. Where's that going to come from, particularly if you implement now, in the time you have available, all these renewable technologies and attract non-nuclear investment? The only way to attract non-nuclear investment is to show that you are not expanding the nuclear industry, which is a put-off.
Q103 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Can we go back? Sorry, Chair, but I have listened for a long time. The reason why the nuclear industry is in west Cumbria is that it was a military establishment. It was there because it was remote. It is still remote and it will not get the industries that the North East will get. I don't accept that people will move in with other industries if you take the nuclear industry out.
Martin Forwood: I still don't accept that. I think back to the evidence given to the Nirex inquiry in 1996 by a Copeland council planning officer who cited evidence of would-be non-nuclear investors being turned off coming to west Cumbria because of Sellafield's presence. There are people out there who would probably quite like to come. I suspect they would almost certainly come because of all the benefits that Cumbria would have to offer if the industry was not seen to be in the ascendency and in an expansionary mode. As it is, that is not going to happen.
Ralph Pryke: Submarines are not my field of expertise, I admit, but I believe that Barrow is in competition with Plymouth at the moment for the decommissioning of nuclear submarines. I cannot guess how that will be sorted out by Government, but we have to get rid of these things as well and that will take time and expertise.
This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee. Neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.
The full transcript may be read here.
|On behalf of Eric Martlew, 3 Chatsworth Square Carlisle Cumbria CA1 1HB|