§ Mr. Frank Cook
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his departmental news release number 544, of 11 June, what is the reason for the delay in the posting of the Sellafield MOX plant consultation documents on his Department's web site; and if he will extend the consultation period to compensate for the shortened notice given. 
§ Mr. Meacher
[holding answer 1 July 1999]: On 11 June 1999, Official Report, columns 399–400, my right hon. Friends the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced the go-ahead for uranium commissioning and a further round of consultation into the economic case for the Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication plant at Sellafield. On the day of the announcement, copies of the consultation documents were sent to:organisations previously consulted by the Environment Agency as part of their consideration of the MOX plant;organisations and individuals who made representations in response to either of the two consultations held by the Environment Agency; andorganisations and individuals who made representations to my Department.
The publishing of consultation papers is an important part of my Department's communication strategy. Although it is our policy to publish consultation papers on the web site, this is not the primary method of consultation. It is there to complement our more established means of publication and notification. Therefore, I do not see any case for extending the consultation period. The documents were available on the web site on 25 June, as soon as the necessary preparations could be completed.