Regarding the proposed high level nuclear waste repository for Cumbria/the Lake District I am concerned that too many people appear to be unaware about what is really happening or are, at best, very trusting.

Perhaps they feel it is so far into the future that it is not worth worrying about? Or has the nuclear industry such a hold on Cumbria and the Lake District that people (with the exception of many of our town and parish councils) dare not raise their heads, collectively or individually, above the parapets and say their piece?

What, for example, is the exact position of Cumbria Tourism? We know it is a party to the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Partnership and will state that is their way of continuing to be involved in the process and have access to essential information.

But what do they really think? Does Cumbria Tourism believe that a nuclear waste repository is going to be good news for Cumbria and the Lake District? Do they think there is a danger of the Lake District, in a worst-case long-term scenario, being declared an uninhabitable wasteland?

One of the many attractions of the Lake District is it is compact. The trouble is that people in Windermere and Bowness may believe they are out of reach of the sites referred to in connection with the proposed development. But those sites in Eskdale, Ennerdale, are only just over the hill and Silloth is only a hop, step and a jump away up the coast.

This is, without doubt, the biggest issue that Cumbria and the Lake District has ever faced and we need to wake up to the fact.

The Lake District is a place of outstanding natural beauty and the decision whether or not to permanently tarnish it with a gigantic nuclear bunker and all its potential consequences is one not just of interest to people who live and work here. It is also of great relevance to the millions of people who love the area and visit it regularly. They, too, have a right to be heard.

Closer to home, the people I know in Keswick and area who are genuinely worried – in some cases to distraction – by this proposal are not anti-nuclear or anti-Sellafield. They are not, by nature, people who protest and it takes something really important to make them feel as they do now.

They would clearly welcome a solution to our future energy and nuclear waste needs. But they know in their heart of hearts, and all the evidence and research backs it up, that the geology of Cumbria and the Lake District is the wrong place for a nuclear waste repository. They fear it is all going to go horribly wrong and that while they will not be here to witness the potentially dire consequences their descendants surely will.

The decision being taken now is immense. It involves high level waste that will be around for hundreds of thousands of years and the impact of this decision will span generations.

Cumbria and the Lake District is not the right place for this and Government knows it.

Back in the mists of time the Viking chiefs who were our ancestors were buried on the summit ridges of Lakeland hills. Now we are looking to bury nuclear waste beneath the Lakeland fells. It has come to this . . .

You really couldn’t make it up.

Keith Richardson, Keswick