HC Deb 08 April 1981 vol 2 cc941-2
6. Mr. Foulkes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is now able to make a statement on the report of the inquiry into the refusal by Kyle and Carrick district council to allow the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority to test bore at Mullwharcher near Loch Doon.

Mr. Rifkind

The report is under consideration, and a decision on the appeal will be announced as soon as possible.

Mr. Foulkes

Will the Minister explain the delay in making this announcement, as the Secretary of State has had the report for over three months, and as the overwhelming evidence was against the explorations taking place? Does the Minister appreciate that there is a huge pent-up feeling against these explorations, which could burst out into civil unrest if the Secretary of State overrules the decision of the democratically elected district council and the overwhelming views of the people in that area?

Mr. Rifkind

My right hon. Friend will not take into account the foolish rantings to which the hon. Gentleman has just subjected the House. As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, these are important matters which are the subject of the appeal. It is right and proper that my right hon. Friend should give the fullest consideration to a complex matter. As soon as he can reach a decision on the matter, he will announce it in the usual way.

Mr. John MacKay

Will my hon. Friend agree that it is about time the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes) came clean on his attitude to nuclear power? The long-term storage of nuclear waste cannot be separated from nuclear generation. Does my hon. Friend wonder, as I do, whether the hon. Member for South Ayrshire has told his constituents and people in the neighbouring constituencies in Ayrshire that his policy would close down Hunterston, with a loss of over 1,000 jobs in that plant?

Mr. Rifkind

My hon. Friend is correct in suggesting that some of those who have made comments op this subject sometimes appear to find it difficult to reconcile two different points of view. The appeal that is at present before my right hon. Friend dealt not with the general question of nuclear power but with the specific question whether test borings should be made and certain buildings erected, which was the basis of the application made to the local authority.

Mr. Millan

When we are talking about equivocal or hyprocritical attitudes, should we not remember that the Secretary of State, as a Back Bencher, came out publicly against the borings when the previous Labour Government were in office?

Mr. Rifkind

My right hon. Friend will consider a planning application according to the normal rules of planning law. The right hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) would be the first to accept that that is the normal, proper and acceptable thing to do.