Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Breeding insects at Sellafield Ltd storage ponds

Date released
19 March 2020
Request number
Release of information under
Freedom of Information Act 2000

Information requested

In 2012 it was identified that significant numbers of breeding insect populations were present in contaminated areas in the vicinity of Sellafield Ltd storage ponds. These insects were believed to be the source of contamination of swallows on the Sellafield Site. According to Sellafield Ltd at the time, ‘the levels of radioactivity discovered were very low and there was "no threat" to public health.


Information released

We can confirm that we may hold the information requested. However following a sampling exercise, gathering it together is likely to involve a cost in excess of the £600 limit set by the government in Section 12 of the FOIA .

You may wish to contact the following organisations who may hold the information that you require:

The Environment Agency
Address: Environment Agency
National Customer Contact Centre PO Box 544 Rotherham S60 1BY
Telephone: 03708 506 506

Public Health England
Address: Public information access office Public Health England Wellington House 133-155 Waterloo Road London SE1 8UG
Telephone: 020 7654 8000

Further Information:

Section 16 of the FOIA - Duty to advise and assist

If the Environment Agency or Public Health England are unable to help, you may wish to refine your request in attempt to bring it within the set limit.

Due to the size of the Sellafield site it may help with refining your request by specifying which facility or building you are referring to and a particular time period. However, due to the number of questions you have listed and the volume of material involved, in addition to the difficulty in accessing it, we are unable to guarantee that a refined request will come within the time limit stipulated in the FOIA. We therefore recommend that you contact the organisations detailed above first to seek the information you require.

Please note that in accordance with Section 1(3) of the FOIA  we are not under any further obligation to respond until you have provided the appropriate refinement.

Exemptions applied

Section 12 and 16

PIT (Public Interest Test) if applicable