OR/14/039 Executive summary

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Mathers, S J, Terrington, R L, Waters, C N, and Thorpe S. 2014. The construction of a bedrock geology model for England and Wales. British Geological Survey Internal Report, OR/14/039.

Government policy for the long-term management of the UK’s higher-activity radioactive waste is geological disposal as outlined in the 2008 Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) White Paper. The Government remains firmly committed to this policy and continues to hold the view that the best means of selecting a site for a geological disposal facility (GDF) is an approach based on voluntarism and partnership.

Feedback from a wide range of stakeholders has indicated that a robust presentation of what is known, and what is not known, about the geology of any prospective area is needed at an early stage in the MRWS process. The existing BGS GB3D model provides the only nationally consistent representation of the bedrock geology of Great Britain to depths of at least 1 km. The links between this dataset and the underpinning geological evidence needed to be strengthened and rigorous peer review performed to enable an enhanced dataset to inform the MRWS process.

So the objective of this study was to further develop the GB3D model in England and Wales by the incorporation of about 300 deep boreholes into the existing framework of cross-sections, re-route some sections to incorporate the borehole data and provide additional sections to densify the network in order to produce a robust, verifiable and defensible dataset.

The appropriate applications for the revised model are for general and geoscience education to illustrate the national and regional bedrock geology of England and Wales to a depth of at least 1 km with an intended resolution of use in the 1:250 000 to 1:1 million range. Limitations inherent in the model preclude such applications as detailed geological assessments, resource-reserve estimation and exploration, and any representation or use outside the intended resolution range.

The new model produced by this study GB3D_v2014 supersedes the earlier 2012 version for England and Wales. The Scottish portion of the model remains unchanged except in the Borders area where editing was required to ensure consistency with the new interpretation in Northern England. The new dataset is a wholly owned BGS product and as with its forerunner it is freely available from the BGS website http://bgs.ac.uk as downloads in a variety of formats.

This dataset has been extensively peer reviewed and is now intended to act as a resource to inform the MRWS process.