The Copeland Community Fund is an agreement negotiated with the Government to recognise the service Copeland provides to the nation by hosting the Low Level Waste Repository close to the village of Drigg. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority pay £1.5million a year into the fund for every year that the repository is operating; in addition to an initial endowment of £10m. Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council adopted the policy position that the community package should be agreed before the repository could continue to operate in the Borough. Since that time negotiation has taken place with the NDA on the need to establish a fund, how it would operate and what the level of contribution would be.
This is the first arrangement of this kind agreed in the UK although similar funds have been developed in other parts of the world.
The overiding principle is that the fund is managed to provide a benefit to the residents of Copeland even after the Borough has ceased receiving waste.
The money received while the site is operating is invested to provide long term future income. This income is then spent on an annual basis to offset negative impacts. In the first few years of operation the amounts available to spend were modest but they have grown gradually over time.
Negotiations for the fund were due to the work of Copeland Borough Council, Cumbria County Council and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.