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December 12 General Election

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Where you see this symbol FAQ you can submit a question and we will add the answer to our pool of Frequently Asked Questions for the benefit of other users. Whilst using the website if you come across a term or word you do not understand, then you can submit it to our glossary and we will provide an explanation, which again will help other users. We try to use plain language where possible and your feedback will help. Thank you.

Your question Answer
My landlord wants me out of my house - what do I need to do now?

If your landlord wants you to move out of your house, you should start to look at your options to make sure you don’t become homeless. We can help you to do this – please contact us on 0845 0548600 to make an appointment. If you are in danger, for example if you are being threatened with violence, always dial 999.

There are certain things that your landlord is legally required to do if they want you to move out of your house.

These things will vary according to what type of tenancy agreement you have, however there are some things that nearly always count as a criminal offence:

  • changing the locks while you are out
  • threatening you or forcing you to leave
  • physically throwing you out
  • stopping you from getting into certain parts of your home
How do I report a pothole or other highways issue?

To report a pothole or other problem with a road or pavement, please contact Cumbria County Council.

You can email them at  or to report a fault by phone, call the Highways Hotline on 0845 609 6609 (answer phone service evenings, weekends and public holidays). 

For broken street lights and other related problems, you can also use Fix my street. They co-ordinate all issues reported and feed them through to the relevant authority to deal with.


How can I find a council house?

The council does not own its own houses for rent. All of the social rented properties in Copeland are owned by housing associations.

To apply for a housing association house in Copeland you will need to register for Cumbria Choice, and apply for properties you are interested in. You can find information about Cumbria Choice and details about how to use it at link to Cumbria Choice webpage.

Otherwise you can contact the housing associations as follows:

  • Home Group Housing Association: 0345 141 4663
  • Two Castles Housing Association: 01946 591848
  • Impact Housing Association: 0344 8736290


What Locality do I live in?

There are six localities in Copeland each centred on a town or large villages from which many people receive most of their services.

  • South Copeland: Millom, Millom Without, Haverigg, Bootle, Ulpha, Waberthwaite, Whicham
  • Mid Copeland: Gosforth, Seascale, Muncaster, Wasdale, Eskdale, Ponsonby, Irton with Santon.
  • West Copeland: Egremont, St Bees, Beckermet with Thornhill, Lowside Quarter
  • North East Copeland: Cleator Moor, Weddicar, Lamplugh, Arlecdon and Frizington, Ennerdale.
  • Howgate Distington: Lowca, Parton, Moresby and Distington
  • Whitehaven: the wards of Bransty, Harbour, Hensingham, Mirehouse, Hillcrest, Kells and Sandwith
How can I arrange collection of an old bed?

You can organise collection of an old bed, furniture, fridges or any other large item simply by requesting a bulky waste collection.  We will collect up to three items in one go. You can organise a bulky waste collection by calling us on 01946 59 8300 and we will discuss your requirements. We charge £27 to take away up to three items.


You can request sandbags from us for a residential property by calling 01946 59 8300.

However, sandbags are of limited use. In the short term they will deflect running water and filter any contaminants in the water. Where there is standing water and the water level is higher than doors or airbricks sandbags will be of no use. Sandbags will be of no help if your property is already flooded and we discourage their use in these circumstances unless there is a risk from sewage contamination. If you are in a flood risk area, or have a history of flooding, then you should be considering more comprehensive flood protection.

You can make a sandbag barrier more effective by draping a plastic sheet over the top of the bags and then weighing this down with further sandbags to make a seal. We do not provide plastic sheets or plastic bags. Once the sandbags have been delivered they become the property owner’s responsibility including the responsibility for their deployment, proper maintenance and disposal when not needed.

You can request sandbags for your home by contacting us on 01946 598300. Our aim is to deliver them on the same day, within six hours if high rainfall is predicted (in extreme flooding this may not be achievable), or next day delivery in dry conditions. There are practical limitations to how many bags can be delivered.

We do not provide sandbags for commercial properties, and we do not arrange the free collection of used sandbags.

For further advice about preparing for flooding or dealing with the consequences of flooding please go to the Environment Agency's website.

What is decommissioning?

When a power company decides to close its nuclear power plant permanently, the facility must be decommissioned by safely removing it from service and reducing residual radioactivity to a level that permits release of the property and termination of the operating licence. Decommissioning involves decontaminating and demolishing the buildings that are no longer operational and returning the site to a form where it can be safely reused by others.

Our page on the decommissioning of Sellafield has more information.

What is probate and do I need it?

The word "probate" often conjures up images of months of difficulty and delay.  This is not inevitable and many simple probates are finished quite easily in a month or so.

What is it?

It is a document issued by the Probate Registry confirming that an executor has the right to wind up an estate of the person who has died. The estate is the house, money and savings left by someone when they pass away.  The executor is the person chosen in the will to sort out the estate and make sure it goes to the people named in the will.

Do I have to have it?

This depends upon the size of the estate. Often when the estate is very small no probate is needed.

How do I get it?

By filling in some forms.  You can buy books about probate that contain the relevant forms, and download probate forms from HM Revenue and Customs.  If the estate is small, the forms do not have to give full details of it.  The important form is the Executors Oath.  This is not usually available from stationery shops but can be found in books about probate.  It has to be sworn as being true.

Do I have to use a solicitor?

No, but it helps.  You can also apply direct to the Probate Registry yourself.  Most solicitors offer probate services and their fees depend upon the amount of work necessary and the size of the estate.  Always ask them first.

How do I get my vehicle a private hire licence?

Private hire vehicles are required to be licensed to ensure that they are suitable for use by the public.

We have a vehicle age restriction policy and subject to certain exceptions,  we will not licence a vehicle that is more than five years old. However, once the vehicle is licensed it is entitled to remain licensed until it is not more than eight years old.

A licence is issued for 12 months and vehicles over three years of age are required to undergo twice yearly mechanical tests (fee of £30.00 payable at time of test).

Before a licence can be issued you must make an appointment for a taxi test at:

May Gurney Fleet and Passenger Service LimitedWhitehaven Commercial ParkMoresby ParksWhitehavenTel: 01946 517600 

You should then take the completed application form to May Gurney Fleet and Passenger Service Limited at the time of the taxi test together with:

  • Vehicle Registration Document/Bill of Sale
  • Valid MOT Certificate (if applicable).

Once the vehicle has passed the taxi test, you can submit the application form, pass certificate and checklist to us together with:

  • Vehicle Registration Document/Bill of Sale
  • Valid MOT Certificate (if applicable)
  • Valid Insurance Certificate/Cover Note.

We will then issue the licence along with a white licence plate for you to affix to the rear bumper of your vehicle.

How do I get a Private Hire driver's licence?

All drivers of private hire vehicles are required to satisfy us that they are fit and proper persons to hold such a licence. We have the power in law to check with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for the existence and content of any criminal record held in your name.

A licence is issued for 12 months and to qualify you must:

  • Have held a full driving licence for 12 months prior to the date of application;
  • Complete a private hire drivers licence application form;
  • Complete a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) application form (if applicable). This is required every 3 years and in the intervening years a self-certification form must be completed declaring that no further convictions have been obtained since the last CRB check;
  • Provide a medical certificate (required every 3 years unless otherwise stated) from his/her doctor, certifying that the applicant is fit to drive a private hire vehicle;
  • Provide a full current driving licence (both photo card and counterpart);
  • Provide 2 x passport size photographs of the applicant;
  • Provide a valid Passport (if applicable);
  • Provide your Birth Certificate ;
  • Provide your Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Provide your National Insurance Number.

Please note that the CRB application forms are only available from our offices.