asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the final cost to public funds of the Sizewell inquiry.
The final cost of the inquiry will become evident only when the inspector has completed his report. However, costs up to 31 March 1985 either falling to my Department or recoverable from the CEGB total approximately £2,407,000.
Does my hon. Friend agree that that inquiry has gone wide of planning, and that the wider policy issues raised would be better decided and discussed by Parliament? Does he agree that future applications to build new types of power stations should be assessed in a way that is cheaper and takes less time?
As the House will be aware, the Government have made clear on a number of occasions their view that the inquiry should be full and wide-ranging. Decisions on future inquiries will be taken in the light of circumstances prevailing from time to time.
As there is intense public interest in the inquiry, when will the Secretary of State be able to give the House the time scale of how the matter will be processed?
The timing of the report is a matter for the inspector. My right hon. Friend will lose no time when it is in his hands.