HC Deb 21 December 1955 vol 547 c2018
42. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how much money has been spent on rain-making experiments on Salisbury Plain this year; and what results have been achieved.

Mr. Ward

The experiments carried out so far have cost about £800. As I explained to the hon. Member in June, many more of these experiments will need to be made before we can be sure that the rainfall is affected. We are now proposing to extend the tests to hill country in the North of England.

Mr. de Freitas

Will the Under-Secretary of State look at this in future particularly from the point of view of having experiments in those parts of the country which have not had rain and which would benefit very much? Since he is now going to the Admiralty, will he take his rain-making experiments with him, as the First Lord has just "gone up in flames"?

Mr. Ward

I am afraid that I cannot take the responsibility for rain-making experiments away from the Meteorological Office, but I shall certainly take my enthusiasm with me. Regarding the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, we are to try these tests on the Pennines first, because we think there will be an advantage in having these burners on the high ground where, if the experiments work, they will benefit that part of the country, but there is no guarantee that they will work.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

is my right hon. Friend aware that in Dorset we are congratulating ourselves on the dry weather which we have had this year, and that we attribute it to his success in producing showers on Salisbury Plain?

Mr. Chetwynd

Can the Minister give the water authorities in County Durham any information about whether his experiments are likely to succeed there in the near future?

Mr. Ward

I wish I could. All I can say is that we shall do our best, but these things are purely experimental.