§ Mr. Dorrell
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the geological research programme connected with the disposal of high level radioactive waste.
§ Mr. Heseltine
Yes. I welcome this opportunity to set out our views on present and future research connected with the disposal of high level radioactive waste. I refer particularly to the geological research programme involving the drilling of test boreholes in certain areas of the United Kingdom. I must make it clear that this is not a programme for disposing of radioactive waste but is purely research into whether disposal in geological formations is feasible.
A principal element in my responsibility for radioactive waste management policy, which I share with my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scot- 216W a matter for each local authority in the light of local needs and resources. My right hon. Friend has made it clear that he expects local authorities to do their utmost to protect services for the most vulnerable, but whether a particular home should be closed is a decision for them.