To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations he has had and proposes to have with Nirex regarding nuclear waste disposal.
I have met Nirex representatives from time to time to be briefed on their work. I have at present no plans for a further meeting.
Does the Secretary of State expect that if Nirex goes ahead with any preliminary investigations it will follow exactly the procedures adopted in England, without any short cuts? Will he ensure that the Scottish public will be informed if any on-site investigations take place? Does he accept that the Scottish public have an absolute right to be informed of any such activities?
Nirex's present investigations are concerned with determining what type of site is geologically suitable, whether underground, under the sea, or tunnelled out from the land. It will be a considerable time before it thinks in terms of any individual location in any part of the United Kingdom.
When my right hon. and learned Friend meets and consults Nirex, will he draw its attention to the fact that there is great anxiety in parts of Scotland as a result of the mis-statements and misinformation that have come from the Scottish National party? I draw his attention to the fact that Schiehallion in my constituency was named as an area where nuclear waste would be dumped. There is no substance to the story, which came from the SNP.
My hon. Friend should take some comfort from the fact that no constituency in Scotland has not been told by the SNP that it has been chosen as the location for nuclear waste.
Will the Secretary of State advise the House in simple terms what steps he will take to stop Scotland becoming the nuclear dumping ground for the rest of the United Kingdom?
The hon. Gentleman should realise that all parts of the United Kingdom use nuclear power and are responsible for the production of nuclear waste. The location for the deposit of nuclear waste should be chosen on geological grounds that are consistent with the requirements of public safety.