§ Mr. Frank Cook
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why a statement on the proposals to deposit intermediate level nuclear waste in the disused anhydrite mine at Billingham is not to be made before the Christmas recess, as was promised on the occasion of the Minister's visit to the area in October.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
The appropriate management of nuclear wastes is an important issue, and I know the concern which exists in the hon. Member's constituency. The Government regret that it has not been possible to resolve the matter in the time scale originally envisaged. The Government will not, however, allow the further delay to be prolonged: a statement will be made shortly after Parliament returns. In considering possible sites identified by the Nuclear Industry Radioactive Waste Executive for disposal facilities, the Government has to have regard to the overall strategy for waste management, as well as to the quasi-judicial function which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State would have if a planning application were to be submitted.