AN MP has received assurances that a mine in his constituency will only be considered as a nuclear dumping ground if there is support from the community.

Plans to re-open a North-East mine to store hazardous waste were last raised in 2011 when NPL Estates announced they wanted to use an anhydrite mine beneath the former ICI site in Billingham as a long-term tip.

And in the mid-Eighties 86,000 signatures were collected on a petition against plans to dump nuclear waste in the mines.

Earlier this year, Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham called on the government to clarify its position during Prime Minister's Questions.

Speaking in the Commons, he said in early 1985 following opposition from the local community, the Government of the day abandoned the investigation in to the potential use of the anhydrite mine in Billingham as a site for the disposal of intermediate level radioactive waste materials.

And now eight-weeks later he has the response that he was hoping for when Cabinet Minister David Lidington MP answered his query.

Mr Cunningham said: “Despite having to wait eight weeks for the response from the Minister, I am satisfied that the Government are not intending to use the mine under Billingham to store their nuclear waste, a move I know would be opposed by my constituents.

“I will continue to keep an eye on this issue, as successive governments have often backtracked on their words. I hope communities approached to store this waste will be properly consulted and that lessons from the past truly have been learned.”

In 2011 Stockton Borough Council granted permission for the site to be used to store low-hazard waste in the labyrinth of underground mine shafts but the permission lapsed in 2014 without any work being carried out on the site.

In his letter to the Stockton North MP, Mr Lidington accepted that previous plans had not materialised.

He wrote: "This is a complex challenge and based on the lessons we have learned and international experience, we believe that best way to identify a site for a geological disposal facility for radioactive waste is in partnership with communities."