announced a groundbreaking regeneration taskforce for West Cumbria to
ensure the region's long-term socio-economic welfare in light of the
new decommissioning focus at Sellafield.
The government has acted to ensure continued security for the region
once the employment and economic changes of transition to clean up
activities begin to take effect following the establishment of the
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in 2005.
The new taskforce will build on existing local and regional
partnerships and be responsible for developing an overarching
regeneration plan that will oversee the needs of the entire community
- social, educational, economic and infrastructure.
The secretary of state said: 'West Cumbria's history of involvement
in the nuclear industry made it the ideal choice for the location of
the NDA but we also recognised that the change in focus to clean up
activities would, in time, have an effect on the socio-economic
stability of the region. These concerns could not be ignored.
'That is why today I am announcing this forward looking taskforce to
protect and enhance the regeneration of the region. We are already
addressing short-term regeneration issues and this new taskforce
shows we are prepared for the long-term as well. The future role of
West Cumbria in our clean up agenda is in safe hands.
'The government's confidence in the expertise West Cumbria brings to
the nuclear industry, and the fundamental role it will play in
nuclear clean up, is clear. Today we are building on the many
measures already in place to assist the region in this transitional
phase, and we remain fully committed to generating new growth and
opportunities for the region.'
The taskforce will be led by the Northwest Development Agency
and will include the urban regeneration company, West Lakes
Renaissance as well as the relevant governmen t departments - DTI,
DEFRA, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Department for
Transport - and existing local economic and social partnerships.
It will operate together with the two existing specialist
regeneration vehicles already working to deal with the immediate
needs of the area (West Lakes Renaissance and Rural Regeneration
Cumbria, established by the NWDA) and in addition to the existing
financial commitment of more than £100 million over the next five
The taskforce is a vital component in delivering the policy
objectives set out in the 'Managing the Nuclear Legacy' White Paper
July 2002 - namely establishing the NDA - and is also consistent with
the commitment to keep the nuclear option open as stated in the
Energy White Paper February 2003.
Steven Broomhead, NWDA chief executive, said: 'The agency is
committed to ensuring that growth opportunities continue to be
generated for the important nuclear sector in West Cumbria, following the new focus on decommissioning. The industry is
facing a period of major transition, but there are significant
opportunities to be grasped. The establishment of a West Cumbria
Taskforce, that we will lead, will compliment the work already being
carried out by the Urban Regeneration Company, West Lakes
'We have a world class workforce in the nuclear sector in Cumbria,
that must be retained and enhanced. The Agency will continue to work
in collaboration with partners, providing the focus required to move
the industry forward.
1. West Cumbria is recognised by the North West Development Agency as
a high priority for regeneration and there is already substantial
support being channelled into the area.
2. Two specialist regeneration vehicles have been set up to deal with
the current needs of the area. These are the Urban Regeneration
Company, West Lakes Renaissance, and the Rural Regeneration Company.
3. West Lakes Ren aissance has a budget in excess of £100m to invest
in regeneration activities for the area over the next 5 years.
4. The arrival of the NDA and the government's new focus at
Sellafield towards decommissioning and clean up will alter the socio
economic landscape of the area.
5. Current projections show no immediate impact on jobs and the
expectation based on BNFL's current business plan is that employment
levels will remain stable until 2012. Hence there is no immediate
cause for concern.
6. Beyond 2012, clean up may well impact job numbers and the
dependency of the West Cumbrian economy is such that this could have
a significant impact on the area if nothing is done to prevent.
7. HMG and the NWDA therefore want to take action now to pre-empt the
consequences of the site transitioning to clean up and ensure the
social and economic well being of the West Cumbrian community is