Grevel Lindop

Poet, biographer, critic, essayist and writer on just about everything

Save Ennerdale from this Nuclear Dump Madness

ennerdale-9836b[1]Most of my posts about the Lakes have been celebratory. This one isn’t. We are facing a risk that a huge dump for nuclear waste will be created in the Lake District, specifically in and under Ennerdale, the quietest and one of the most beautiful valleys in the Lakes.

The plan is to dig a vast underground cavern in which massive quantities of lethal waste will be stored, which will remain immensely dangerous for the next million years or so. Even the plans put forward by those in favour show that the foothills of Great Gable and Scafell will be permanently scarred by construction and maintenance buildings.

Other counties have already turned down the idea of becoming the world’s nuclear dustbin. The nuclear industry hopes that the lack of jobs in Cumbria will persude the local authorities to give in.

But Bill Jefferson, Chair of the Lake District National Park authority, warns of ‘potentially disastrous effects’ on both landscape and tourism.
He said: “Tourism brings in far more than Sellafield [nuclear processing complex] ever would, and let’s face it, there are going to be more than enough jobs in dealing with the clear-up and improvement of above-ground storage which is happening there.
“We have 15 million people coming to the park every year, and the prospect of having the world’s largest nuclear waste dump could make that considerably fewer.”
On 30 January, three Cumbrian councils will decide whether to agree a full preliminary planning proposal for an underground storage facility four times larger than the vast Sellafield complex from where the waste will be transported.

This lunatic scheme needs to be stopped now for everyone’s sake and for the sake of the future. What you can do at once is to sign the petition at

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-nuclear-dump-in-the-lake-district

We need signatures, and we need them right now. It will take about a minute.

And if you are able to be in the Lakes, please join the protest walk at Ennerdale on Saturday 26 January. The organisers say:

“Ennerdale Protest Walk – 12:00hrs Saturday 26th January 2013
We have organised a protest walk in Ennerdale on Saturday 26th January 2013.
This is the potential route that heavy lorries and site equipment could take through the Ennerdale valley. The walk will start at Bowness Knott Carpark and continue beside the lake and end at the River Liza Delta just below Ennerdale Fell. This would be the anticipated site for the temporary Drilling HQ if seismic testing is to be carried out in MRWS Stage 5.
The closing sequences of the movie 28 Days Later (2002), directed by Danny Boyle, were filmed around the Ennerdale area and people will remember the message laid on the grass and viewed from above. We have arranged for the walk to be photographed from the air, weather permitting. It is our intention to recreate the final scene and provide footage and stills for use by the media.
The proposed walk will be a gentle stroll of 1.5miles each way and is easy enough for families and walkers of all ability. Please make sure all your friends, family, colleagues and anyone else who will listen comes along and supports this protest. We need as many people as possible to create media interest.”

Tom Rawling: Rediscovering Ennerdale’s Poet

I’m just back from a visit to Ennerdale – one of the most beautiful and least changed valleys in Lakeland. BBC TV’s Countryfile had called to ask if I’d be filmed talking about Tom Rawling, the wonderful Ennerdale poet, beside How Hall,the farmhouse where he spent so much of his childhood. (The programme goes out on 19 Feb. 2012).

How Hall, the Ennerdale farm where Rawling spent much of his childhood

Rawling (1916-96) was a magnificent poet – perhaps Cumbria’s best 20th century poet in my view – and, though largely forgotten at the end of his life, he’s been undergoing a renaissance of appreciation since his poems were reissued by the Lamplugh and District Heritage Society in 2009. The name may sound parochial, but believe me Rawling is a fine and perhaps major poet, bringing to life in vividly textured words the farming life of an earlier generation, the landscape and the fishing. All of it, as you read, is gritty and real enough to get your hands on, and profoundly beautiful at the same time.

(Do email stanandmarina@aol.com and get hold of a copy of his poems – it’s only £7.50 and I’m sure will become a collector’s item in the future.)

I enjoyed meeting a very friendly BBC team, including producer Dean Jones and presenter Ellie Harrison, and despite the cameras, radio mics and freezing temperature we talked pretty spontaneously in the sunshine and open air, with a rich authentic odour of cow muck in the background (the farmer was manuring his fields at the time).

 

After filming I had a wonderful walk in the freezing air and bright sunshine around Ennerdale Water.

And the previous day, I’d taken time out to walk up in the snow to Bowscale Tarn, that amazingly dark, melancholy and beautiful place. I’ll put some pictures in here.

 

Snow on Haycock across Ennerdale Water; Angler's Crag in middle distance

Bowscale Tarn: a study in subtle blacks and whites just before sunset