MORE accusations have been made over ‘secret meetings’ with North East politicians about a proposal to ‘dump’ nuclear waste in a town.
Last week it emerged that the chief executive of a charity said he wanted to ‘explore whether Hartlepool would be a suitable location for an offshore Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).’
In a letter sent to the mayor of Tees Valley Ben Houchen, Sacha Bedding, the CEO of the Wharton Trust, said: “Hartlepool is a place which has benefitted hugely from the harnessing of nuclear energy.
“We see the opportunity which a GDF could bring. We have a chance to develop the town in a way in which is, quite frankly, unimaginable without it.”
This was met with furious backlash from local leaders.
On Tuesday evening, Mr Houchen, said: “Hartlepool deserves answers about what the council knew about these plans, and if secret talks have been taking place at the council with representatives from Radioactive Waste Management or The Wharton Trust those responsible need to be held accountable.
“On Friday we learned about a secret meeting between The Wharton Trust and the Labour group at Hartlepool Council, if Sacha Bedding has been holding meetings with Labour to push these totally unacceptable plans, who else has he been talking to at the council. Local people have a right to know.
“For as long as I am mayor and Jill is MP we will fight tooth and nail to not allow our amazing region to become a dumping ground for nuclear waste, and I am pleased that as soon as I made the meeting between Sacha and Labour public Shane Moore came out unequivocally and joined us in opposition to these plans.
“We have made our opposition clear and the Minister is in no doubt that we do not want to turn Hartlepool, which has so many amazing things going for it, into a dump for some of the most dangerous and hazardous material in the world.
“We are making huge strides in Hartlepool and across Teesside and Darlington and the last thing we need as we sell our region to the world is to be known as the dumping ground for the UK’s nuclear waste.”
A spokesperson for the Hartlepool Labour Party said: “In light of recent events and unfounded accusations directed at Hartlepool Labour Party by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, Hartlepool Labour has come into possession of evidence indicating that senior Conservatives in the town have been negotiating and facilitating meetings regarding Hartlepool hosting a nuclear waste facility since September 2020.
“The Labour Party has therefore submitted an FOI request for all correspondence on this matter to uncover the truth for the people of Hartlepool.”
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have received a Freedom of Information request from Ben Houchen and Jill Mortimer which we are currently looking into.”
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