HC Deb 11 July 1950 vol 477 cc1127-8
25. Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning on what grounds he considers the Brownwich and Hook Park areas of the Fareham urban district suitable for development as an oil refinery, together with its uninhabitable surrounding zone, and the residential area for 7,000 people connected with it; and what plans he has made for the new township involved with its necessary public services.

Mr. Dalton

His Majesty's Government have approved this project in principle since they were advised that this locality offers convenient access by water for large tankers and is well placed for the main markets. It would cost much less to build and operate a refinery there than elsewhere. Most of the labour will be drawn from neighbouring towns and there is no intention of creating a new township.

Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that if the refinery is situated on the site mentioned, the main part of the fruit-growing, and especially the strawberry-growing, areas in Hampshire will be dead to leeward of this refinery and that there may well be a covering of oil which will cause the collapse of the strawberry-growing industry?

Mr. Dalton

That would, of course, be a matter of which special account ought to be taken. If the hon. and gallant Member will give me particulars on the lines of what he has just said, I will carefully go into the question, but this matter has been examined most carefully in consultation by a number of Government Departments.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that if this project is carried out the whole of the water of the Solent will have a film of oil? Does he also realise that the tide will carry that oil up the Hamble river, which will do immense damage to the Hamble river and surroundings as a yachting centre?

Mr. Dalton

I say to the hon. and gallant Member for Petersfield (Sir G. Jeffreys), as to the hon. and gallant Member who asked the Question, that if they can give some particular evidence against this site I will go into it, but the evidence in favour of the site is very strong.