“Nuclear waste could be stored in vaults deep under national parks after it emerged yesterday that MPs backed the proposal.
However, the controversial plan is certain to be fiercely opposed by green campaigners.
After the Government began looking for a site to locate an underground radioactive waste vault, the Commons business committee backed its approach – but decided against calling for national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) to be excluded. …
Energy minister Richard Harrington told the committee: ‘I am not saying we should have them on national parks, but it would be very wrong to exclude them at the moment in this big policy statement.’ …
The committee said the plan was ‘fit for purpose’, adding: ‘We decided against an exclusionary criterion for national parks and AONBs.
‘Although we agree that major developments should not be allowed in designated areas except under exceptional circumstances, we believe existing planning legislation and the national policy statement contain sufficient safeguards against intrusive developments and environmental damage in national parks and AONBs.
‘We support the Government’s view that it is conceivable for a GDI to be designed in a way that would be acceptable to communities, preserve the socio-economic benefits that national parks and AONBs bring them and avoid any intrusive surface facility in conservation areas.’
But Kate Blagojevic, from Greenpeace UK, said: ‘The Government have decided to bet the house on new nuclear reactors without any clear idea of how high the spiralling costs will be… or where to put the unknown quantity of waste they will generate.
‘Now we learn that the main protection for national parks is that local people won’t agree to anything bad, even though the local people won’t know what they’re agreeing to.’ “