HC Deb 17 April 1951 vol 486 cc1630-1
5. Mr. Snadden

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that Constructional Scheme No. 25—Breadalbane Project—of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board is likely seriously to affect large sheep stocks in Perthshire; and if he will give an assurance that before confirming this scheme the interests of food production will be fully considered.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Miss Herbison)

Objections to this scheme may be made before 5th May. Thereafter my right hon. Friend must decide, in the light of any objections, of its possible effect on agricultural or other interests, and of the result of any public inquiry which may be held, whether it is in the public interest to confirm it. If it is confirmed Parliament will, of course, have an opportunity of considering it.

Mr. Snadden

Is the hon. Lady aware that a large part of the land affected by this vast scheme which is to cost £15,500,000 is land that has already been rehabilitated under the Hill Farming Act passed by her own Government? Is she further aware that there is grave apprehension that because of the discharge of water from the scheme into the River Earn, serious flooding will take place over this rich agricultural land? Will she see that her right hon. Friend looks into these two points in particular, and has regard to agricultural and food production interests in general?

Miss Herbison

All these points are being taken into consideration. At the present time technical officers of the Department of Agriculture are carrying out a survey on this very ground. Their report will be in the hands of the Secretary of State before he reaches any decision.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is the hon. Lady aware that on this occasion this period of 40 days is really too short to enable people to examine this very big scheme carefully, because for the first time, I think I am right in saying, in any of these schemes really rich, first-class agricultural land is affected, as opposed to the important but much less valuable hill land affected in some of the earlier schemes?

Miss Herbison

It seems to me that the time is a little more than 40 days. It was first decided on 23rd March, and there is until 5th May. I am sure that if there is an objection there is sufficient time to make the objection.