I am sure that a number of you are already aware of a meeting between Sacha Bedding, Chief Executive of the Wharton Trust charity, and representatives from the Labour group on Hartlepool Borough Council – I want to take this opportunity to make my position on the proposal to introduce a nuclear waste dump to Hartlepool clear – not on my watch!
I was shocked to hear that these discussions have taken place, and I fully support Ben Houchen – Tees Valley Mayor in his opposition to such a suggestion. This week myself and Ben have submitted a Freedom of Information request to Hartlepool Borough Council, relating to any correspondence between Staff at Radioactive Waste Management, Staff at The Wharton Trust and the Council, including elected councillors. Whoever is encouraging behind the scenes discussions of something that we believe will have such a devastating impact on the town’s prospects – the people of Hartlepool deserve to know.
I am by no means ‘against’ nuclear power. I fully appreciate how important this industry is to local people, and I want to see a new reactor replace our existing station after its decommissioning. However, we must also encourage new Green Industry and Businesses to invest in Hartlepool – the jobs and investment this waste project would provide will be small, compared to the many potential jobs and investment having it would deter. We must not let the prospect of short term gains and money, through the proposal of this nuclear waste project, adversely affect the impression of our town and prevent companies from bringing their business to Hartlepool.
I also recognise that there is a need to safely dispose of nuclear waste, however I believe this is best done on sites away from centres of population. We are making great strides in Hartlepool to bring investment to our town, both in the form of good jobs and sustainable businesses and we are, in the process, encouraging people to visit our town – so why would anyone support the proposal to turn Hartlepool into a nuclear dumping ground?
For too long Hartlepool has been taken for granted. Labour and anyone entertaining the kind of project which would potentially turn our town into a dustbin for the nation’s nuclear waste, should hang their heads in shame. I am confident that Hartlepool residents stand firmly against any such suggestion, and I am committed to opposing this project.