chapter  6
22 Pages

The Process and Impact of the Inquiry

There was incomparably greater pressure on objectors. Whereas BNFL was mapping out its case in March, most objectors did not even know whether, and on what platform, they would attend. With BNFL’s reapplication for THORP on 1 March, there were then 21 days for objectors to make representations. Most groups entered only the broadest outline of their objection, so as to leave scope to decide later the scope and substance of their case. Parties who had registered objections to the first application assumed that their objection still stood. Yet they received letters from Cumbria County Council, posted on 18 March, stating that, in order to retain the right to speak at the inquiry, they must register by 21 March. Some letters arrived actually on the 21 March itself, requiring urgent calls to beat the deadline and provoking strong protest. In fact Cumbria was not obliged to write at all; it had done so because of concern that it had received only ten objections for the reapplication, compared to about 200 for the previous one. In response to protest about the extreme haste, Cumbria officials replied that the pressure came from Whitehall.1