§ At present the water Engineer must maintain the Vyrnwy Reservoir completely full throughout the winter, because he has no means of foreseeing an early start of a drought year. Being so completely full, the reservoir can retain no floodwaters which must spill over the crest. But with a conjoint operation, it is proposed that the reservoir should be kept 5 feet below crest during the winter, and in a position to fill up with freshets, which come down very quickly, as they occur land with flood relief). Then in a period of a week or two this extra water can he passed down the pipe line to the sandstone area. Here an array of about 16 bore hole wells with adits, these to command an area of about 25 square miles with storage down to about 150 feet depth. The Vyrnwy water is passed down the wells and absorbed by porous rock during the 1175 winter and is available by pumping as an addition to the reservoir water during summer or it may be reserved against a dry year. An additional supply should be realised as average, of around 20 million gallons a day for less than £2 million. The water as pumped from the sandstone would be harder than Vyrnwy water, but very pure, and would be admixed with direct Vyrnwy water"—
§ that is, by utilising Liverpool's present sources of supply.
§ I think I have dealt very fairly with the questions put to me by hon. Members who have asked if Liverpool has other sources of supply. Of course it has, far greater supplies than it could get from this large reservoir which it is intended to set up in the Valley of Tryweryn.
§ I will now indicate and illustrate why Liverpool really demands this enormous water supply. The increase in the supply of water in Liverpool for domestic purposes during the last thirty-five years rose from 22.59 million gallons a day to 26:97 million gallons a day, a net increase of only 4 million gallons a day. The increase in domestic use of water in Liverpool has increased by only that amount, but from 1920, when water used for industrial purposes was 8.25 million gallons a day, it has risen to 20.23 million gallons a day in 1955, an increased consumption of 22½ times over the same period of thirty-five years.
§ It is quite clear from these facts that the additional supply is really needed for industrial purposes. So Liverpool is in this adventure, I am going to suggest, for the sake of profit out of the sale of water for industry. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] At the present time, water is being sold by Liverpool to industries at 10d. per 1,000 gallons. The total annual turnover from water sold by Liverpool last year came to £1,078,000. Over 70 per cent. of this water came from Vyrnwy, Welsh water, in that sense, and good water it is, as everything from Wales is good.
§ Liverpool gets that water for practically nothing. Indeed, Wales does not benefit at all nowadays even from the rateable value of this particular lake, because every £1 it receives from Liverpool the Chancellor of the Exchequer takes by reducing the equalisation grant. Therefore, it means nothing to it. Indeed, last week the Liverpool Daily Post had to take the Corporation to task because, it said, 1176 now when this Bill was before Parliament it was asking Montgomeryshire to reduce its rates. "How ill-timed" says the Liverpool Daily Post. Its own paper telling it off and saying how ill-timed it was to make a request of this kind asking Montgomeryshire last week to reduce the rates.
§ In addition, while Montgomeryshire gets nothing or practically nothing for its water, Liverpool gets it for one-eighth its value and sells it at an enormous profit. In addition to using water for domestic consumption and sale to industry, Liverpool also sells the water in bulk to other authorities, and the bulk sales have gone up from 5.88 million gallons a day in 1920 to 11.79 million gallons a day in 1955.
§ It will therefore be seen that the true reason for the Tryweryn scheme is not that the water is required to quench the thirst of the people of Liverpool—in any case I think that they very often use something else for quenching their thirst. It is not required for that purpose. It is wanted by Liverpool for industry, and for resale to industry. Merionethshire, in which the Valley of Tryweryn is situated, has already provided the C.E.A. with one of the largest reservoirs in the country for generating and supplying electricity to the national grid. Two months ago, the same authority commenced the construction of another reservoir in connection with a pumped storage scheme, which is reputed to be the largest in the whole of Europe. All that we now have left—and I want to emphasise this—is this catchment area for the provision of water for industries which we hope to establish in that area.
The population of Merionethshire is dwindling year by year; it is going down and down. Our great problem is that of depopulation, and desperate efforts are being made in North Wales to secure industries. On 17th December last year Alderman John Braddock—I believe closely connected with an hon. Member of this House—spoke to the electors of Liverpool. He said:
We have seen these Welsh people, who, because of the failure of their own country to provide a livelihood for them, have left their own land almost depopulated
I should like to say to Alderman John Braddock that those people have left because they are too proud to live on the
dole. They are too proud to live on National Assistance and they have gone out to seek their livelihood, but they are yearning to come back, and we intend to have them back by establishing industries within our own area. The first demand will be for water. But we shall have no water if this Bill is passed tonight.
§ I wish to re-emphasise that this is no parochial opposition. Wales and England have lived together as equal partners for centuries. It is the oldest political alliance in the whole world and, indeed, is an example of how two nations with diverse traditions and different languages can live in partnership. I want the House to appreciate that the only English that I speak is here in this House. There is no need for me when I go home to speak any English; every word is spoken in Welsh. We have our own language, but in spite of that and in spite of our different traditions and of our different languages we have lived together in amity and friendship.
§ England has given a great deal to Wales—I do not deny it—but the traffic has not been one way. One of the things that we have given in abundance to England is water. Vyrnwy, Elan, and Glaerwen are household names in England. Therefore, it cannot be said that we begrudge meeting the needs of our neighbours. There are, however, limits beyond which we should not be asked to go without a proper national appraisal, both of our own needs and those of the great industrial centres of England, including Liverpool.
§ I want to refer to the people of Tryweryn who are most intimately connected with the provisions of this Bill—the people of Capel Celyn who are going to lose their homes in which they and their forefathers have been living for centuries. They are an important part of the Welsh community and they are unanimously opposed to the Bill. They do not wish to be uprooted from their houses. These people love their present homes and love the valley in which those homes are situated.
The other day, the Minister for Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs went to that valley. I will quote what he said:
This is a lovely part of the world.
I am glad that he went there and saw this lovely part of the world—he might
not see the next—[Laughter.] So I am glad he has seen the lovely part of this world, and yet this is the valley which will be flooded if this Bill is passed tonight by this House. These people have a right to he heard in this House. If this House stands for anything, it stands for the protection of minorities. It stands for the weak against the strong, for the poor against the wealthy. That is the glory of this honourable House.
§ Would this House allow the Valley of Avon to be flooded and Stratford to be covered? Of course not. No one would oppose that more than myself—I am sure of that. Any village community, whether in England or Wales or Scotland, has a right to be protected by this ancient House.
§ I appeal to the House tonight most fervently and most sincerely, because its action tonight will decide this issue finally. I appeal to the House, with all the eloquence and fervour I possess, to extend its protecting arm to Capel Celyn. By so doing, it will be acting in the highest Parliamentary tradition.
§ I want the House to tell Liverpool: "You have not proved your need. You have greatly exaggerated your claim. Seek those other sources that have been pointed out and let the people of North Wales use this last catchment area for their own use and the future use of industry and populations in that part of the country."
§ 7.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Goronwy Roberts (Caernarvon)
I beg to second the Amendment.
My hon. Friend the Member for Merioneth (Mr. T. W. Jones) has ably and attractively put the case for the rejection of the Bill. It is important at the outset to realise is magnitude. It seeks to create an enormous reservoir in the Valley of the Tryweryn by building a dam approximately 140 feet high and some 600 yards long. This would entail the flooding of more than 800 acres of farm land and would render another 200 acres unworkable. It would also mean the total submersion of the village of Capel Celyn, its school, its chapel, its post office, its burial ground and its dwellings. Sixteen farms would be drowned or rendered useless. Five miles of roadway would have to be replaced and four miles of railway would have to 1179 be relaid, if, indeed, they ever were relaid.
The objections to this massive project are many. There is, first, the quite extraordinary opposition of the people of this threatened valley. From the start, they have been unanimous and completely uncompromising about the provisions of the Bill. There is also the profound indignation, amounting to shock, which has swept throughout Wales, and even beyond Wales, because of these proposals, coming as they do after a long series of similar incursions and also because of the insensitivity amounting to arrogance with which these proposals have been put forward. There is, however, a third objection, on which I wish to dwell this evening.
This is not the way to tackle the vast and vital problem of the conservation and distribution of water. Liverpool, understandably under the present system, is thinking of itself. This House must think of the whole of Britain. Liverpool is a city for which I have great regard. All of us in Wales have a deep affection for Liverpool.
Liverpool is not the only place in the country which is in need of water. The consumption of water per head in Britain has practically doubled since 1938. The demand is growing all the time everywhere. London is now using, I am told, 275 million gallons a day, mostly from the Thames, and it is nearing the limit of possible extraction from that source. In the south and southeast of England, I am told by hon. Friends of mine, some of the bore wells are now throwing up saline water.
In Wales itself, the great steelworks of Margam, the greatest of their kind in the whole of Europe—[An HON. MEMBER: "The whole world.")— yes, the whole world—are threatened with closure because of lack of water—and that in Wales. No doubt, hon. Members from all parts of the House could duplicate these examples of the growing need for water in every part of Britain. It is a commentary on the anarchy which presided over the system of obtaining water in the past.
This Bill can only perpetuate and intensify that anarchy. Indeed, it is not an ordinary water Bill at all. It seeks 1180 to confer on a single municipality—a worthy municipality—a monopoly on the resources of one of the greatest water catchment areas in Wales, and probably in Britain. Once that monopoly is conferred by Parliament, the whole of those vast resources will be lost, not only to Wales, but to the rest of Britain, except on terms to be dictated by that one municipality.
Already the water economy of this country is chaotic enough. Every water engineer of standing—people like Professor Balchin, Dr. Stevenson Buchan and Mr. J. F. Pownall—has been, and is, urging that a proper plan, comprehensive and equitable to all interests and areas, should be prepared. We say that it is time to end the anarchy that exists in our water economy. It is certainly not the time to add to it, as the Bill undoubtedly would do.
Only the most overwhelming evidence of need and evidence of the absence of alternative sources could possibly justify a scheme of this kind or a scheme even approaching the magnitude of this scheme. A proper question to ask, therefore, is: What are the real needs of Liverpool? The Bill anticipates extracting an extra 65 million gallons daily for what, we are told, are urgent domestic and industrial purposes.
Let us see how urgent those purposes are, beginning with the domestic side. I have with me the transcript of proceedings before the Committee, in which the evidence of the Corporation water engineer shows that in 1901 the domestic consumption per head in the North Merseyside area—that is, the area concerned in the Bill—was 21 gallons per head. In 1946–47 it was 30 gallons per head. That is not a great increase over nearly half a century, and it is nothing like the increase in other parts of the country in the same period. In 1955–56, the consumption was actually down to 28¾ gallons per head. That is to say, in the last ten years or so the domestic consumption per head in this area has gone down.
Let us take another test—again from the Liverpool water engineer's own figures. Table 3 gives the population for the North Merseyside area, including Chorley. In 1938–39 the population was 1,104,000; in 1955–56 it was down to 1,098,000. So much for the urgent 1181 domestic need—the population is down, and so is the consumption per head.
What about the industrial need? In 1938–39 these unmetered supplies, as they are called, amounted to 27.6 gallons per head daily. By 1946–47 they had increased only to 30 gallons per head per day, and by 1955–56. ten years later—a period of great expansion throughout the whole country—they had only risen to 31½ gallons per head per day. Where is the industrial justification for this grandiose scheme? The only answer, apparently, is that in the future these demands will, perhaps, grow. Well, any area, any city, could say that—many of them with considerably more justification than Liverpool.
We in North-West Wales are anticipating an increase in the industry that we can provide for our people—all of it processive industry. If this Bill is passed, where is the water to come from for our industry? I know that my hon. Friend is looking forward to seeing a wood pulping factory being erected on the banks of the Dee to coincide with the rapidly maturing forests in the West. Where is the water for a single factory like that to come from once the monopoly is granted, by this Bill to this one municipality? And let no one say to me that Liverpool is prepared to make grants of water for local needs. Anyone who reads the transcript of evidence will see that, at best, the answers on this point were evasive and, at worst, they were downright misleading.
Once this source goes, where is the water to come from? Surely, the answer, in all equity and reason, is that the whole field of need and resource throughout Britain should be examined and a balanced policy of conservation and distribution prepared. Such an examination is, in fact, proceeding into the resources and needs of the whole of Britain—splendid—and on 7th February last a special inquiry was authorised by the Minister for Welsh Affairs into the position in Wales. The reason for setting that Welsh inquiry afoot was, as the Report of the Council for Wales states, the controversy and the anxieties aroused precisely by the proposals contained in the present Bill.
I cannot understand how, having taken that eminently reasonable step of appointing a proper authority to examine the 1182 resources of Wales and what Wales can contribute not only to its own needs but further afield, the Minister should now tolerate, let alone lend his authority to a major project of this sort which, if it goes through, will make a mockery of him and of his inquiries.
There is nothing to prevent some other major authority comparable to Liverpool from saying in the meantime, "You gave in to Liverpool—you must give in to us. We, too, are looking to the future. We, too, hope to have more industry some time in the next fifty years. We know a river, and we know a little town or village that we would like to inundate. You must give your imprimatur also to our scheme." There is nothing to prevent a rat race by the major local authorities, all reaching out for every surviving source of water up and down the country.
I say to the Minister that the best service he can do to Wales and to the whole of Britain tonight is to counsel the promoters of the Bill to withdraw it and to start afresh so that a reasonable, sensible and equitable scheme can be devised whereby the immediate needs of Liverpool are satisfied and the rest of the country, particularly the great cities, is enabled to secure its future requirements.
There are many other arguments that can be adduced against this Bill. So far, the debate has been a temperate one—as is appropriate to such a subject. I will not delay the House by dealing with some of the questions of which my hon. Friend spoke, though they are close and dear to my heart also, but I will remind the House, as he did, that there are human rights involved here. I am told that there are only seventy people in the Treweryn Valley. Whether there are seven, seventy or seven hundred, there is an alternative way of obtaining this water without expelling—because that is what it will come to —these people from their homes, and the homes of their fathers.
We have heard an outline of the scheme proposed by that eminent water engineer, Mr. J. F. Pownall. Let that scheme be examined. If I might say, so, I would advise my Liverpool friends to examine that scheme in the interests of their ratepayers. The vast scheme that is now proposed will cost at least £20 million— 1183 probably £30 million; the scheme propounded by Mr. Pownall would cost only £2 million and would avoid the inundation of this valley.
This is a question of human rights and of reason, and also of the larger benefit to and needs of the whole country. The country needs water—more and more water. Wales can contribute signally to that end, but Wales must be considered in the organisation of that plan. Do that, and all the Welsh contribution will be multiplied, because with every gallon that flows from the Welsh hills, 10 million gallons of good will will flow with it.
§ 7.49 p.m.
§ Sir Victor Raikes (Liverpool, Garston)
I support this Liverpool Corporation Bill, which has been so eloquently criticised by the hon. Members for Merioneth (Mr. T. W. Jones) and for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts) with a debating skill and a courtesy which the House as a whole must appreciate. I, too, shall endeavour to use a completely temperate voice in dealing with our case, which, by Private Bill procedure, is very properly brought before the House.
It is a little difficulty for me now, after speaking in this Chamber last night on port, to find myself brought down to water. [HON. MEMBERS: "Up."] Well, up. I shall try to do my best. I have, at any rate, one foot in each camp, because, while I am a Liverpool Member, my residence is in Wales.
I would venture to suggest to the hon. Member for Merioneth, when he underlines, and underlines very rightly, the benefits which Wales has brought to Liverpool and Merseyside, that it is not entirely a one-way traffic. When he talks of the fact that Liverpool and Merseyside need this water, he says for profit, whereas I say for employment, for the employment of our own people. Whether they reside in Wales or in England, they are the same people who have the same need, wherever their birthplaces may be.
Indeed, only a little time ago, in my own little county town of Mold, we should have been actually devoid of any water by this week, owing to the load on our own supplies nearby, if it had not been that we had been able to get water through the Birkenhead people to cover our needs. Therefore, it is fair to say 1184 that we must look at this matter on a two-way, rather than a one-way, basis.
The hon. Member for Merioneth, I think very properly, said that in his view the Liverpool Corporation ought to show that it needs a greater supply of water, that the need should be a reasonable need, and that it should be shown that every effort had been made to supply that need in less objectionable ways than those proposed in this Bill. I am sure that no one would object to an argument put forward as concisely as that, and that is the type of argument which, to the best of my ability, I shall endeavour to meet.
First of all, on this question of the need for more water, I think the House knows pretty well that as matters stand today, broadly speaking, and taking domestic and industrial needs, because I am not going to divide them up, taking the needs of Liverpool and those areas which the Corporation covers and supplies, which go far beyond the City of Liverpool—and that is sometimes forgotten—taking these areas, our need today is about 65 million gallons per day. Looking at it from the point of view of Liverpool, we have said that, taking everything into account, including our supplies to the twenty-four other areas supplied by Liverpool, we have had a steady increase in demand over a period of years.
In fact, during the last five years, apart from 1956–57, for which there are rather special reasons, we have had an increased demand of about1½ million gallons per day. If we take our existing source in Lake Vyrnwy, if we have a period of two or three dry years, we find that we cannot draw more than 58 million gallons per day from this source. In fact, in 1956, we were obliged in Liverpool to make very special temporary provisions, in which we were helped by Manchester and elsewhere, to cover a deficit of water.
We know from all the examinations that we have made that we are going to have a continued increasing demand, though slightly less per year, in my view, than during the last five years—about I million gallons a day, or perhaps just under, as against the 1½ million gallons per day which we found during the last five years. The figures on which we have based that calculation have been accepted as being reasonable by the Ministry itself.
§ Mr. Arthur Moyle (Oldbury and Halesowen)
No one disputes the figures of consumption by the Liverpool community of their water supply, but that increase is common—is it not?—to the whole country, and not peculiar to Liverpool?
§ Sir V. Raikes
I do not think I suggested to the House that the fact that we are having this increase is merely a peculiarity of Liverpool. Indeed, I should be foolish to do so.
What I am suggesting is that when we have got, as we have on Merseyside, a great industrial area covering 100 square miles and with over a million population, with increasing industry and so on, the Liverpool Corporation would be mad if it was not prepared to plan ahead when it found this difference between its existing supplies remaining static and the increase year by year in the supply which is being demanded. If the Liverpool Corporation merely shrugged its shoulders and said, "We know the increases are going on, but we must not plan ahead," it would deserve very ill of the people of that great city, and I think we should all be agreed about that.
The only point I am making at the moment, and I think it is a perfectly fair one to make, is that the experience of the past five years, the needs of industry and everything else, on which we are basing our plans for the next five, ten or fifteen years, indicates that existing supplies of water are not enough for that great industrial area of Merseyside.
Now, we have to consider all the other points which are really germane to this issue. The hon. Member for Merioneth made various suggestions of alternatives. I hope I am carrying the House with me so far in saying that there is a need for greater supplies of water for that area in the years that lie ahead. How can these needs best be met? The hon. Member for Merioneth threw out two suggestions. I may say that in Liverpool many schemes have been considered during the past few years. Various other smaller schemes in Wales have been considered before this one, but the trouble with each one of these is that either it involved the flooding of a good deal more good agricultural land than does the present scheme, or the supplies which we were going to get were so small and so comparatively costly that the scheme 1186 was really not worth while proceeding with. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not use the Mersey?"] Of course, if we could use the Mersey for our needs we should not want to go searching for water into North Wales to any considerable extent.
We have the Mersey at our door, but the problem there is that we could not endeavour to use the Mersey in the state in which the Mersey is now, and to make the water of the Mersey suitable would cost so much as to be not only uneconomic but exorbitant, and even prohibitive. We called in all sorts of expert evidence to examine that possibility, and that evidence was given before the Committee in another place a short time ago, when the Bill was considered in another place. Incidentally, the Bill was passed through Committee.
It is useless to expend enormous sums of money in order to try to turn the River Mersey in its present state into a water supply for the City of Liverpool. I only wish that it could he done. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about water from the Dee?"] The Dee? There would have to be a big reservoir. In any case, in a populous and industrial area there must be a constant supply of water. One ought not to rely on getting extra water through flooding and so on at some times. There must be a regular supply. That is why the great reservoirs are used more and more for our great cities, to ensure regularity, which cannot be guaranteed by an ordinary river like the River Dee. That is why those other schemes were turned down, for that is why they were proved to be impracticable.
I come to another matter raised by the hon. Member for Merioneth, which was, perhaps, from the debating point of view, the strongest. I can say with all sincerity, while the leaders of Liverpool Corporation belong to a different party from that to which I belong, that I know that every effort was made to try to find the best way of getting the water which is needed not only by the Corporation but, as I said before, for at least twenty-four other bodies in industrial North-West England. A small scheme would not provide us with enough water to deal with the increasing demand during the next four or five years. Is that good planning to pursue a sort of piecemeal method of trying to find water?
§ Sir V. Raikes
I do not think we are pursuing a piecemeal method. If every two or three years we try to find a new small source of supply, we shall not build the requisite water supplies for the years that lie ahead. It is totally contrary to the whole principle on which industry, whether nationalised or privately owned, is planning ahead, in an endeavour not to have to make changes every few years.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
My hon. Friend has said it is most important to plan ahead for many years. Would it not, therefore, be in accordance with that that those who desire to plan ahead in the City of Liverpool and elsewhere should wait a short time, perhaps a year, and then be able to plan with greater knowledge, which we shall have when the committee which my right hon. Friend has set up has made its report?
§ Sir V. Raikes
I think my hon. Friend has raised a very fair question, which I expected would be raised. So far as one can judge, that report may not be in the possession of my right hon. Friend until 1959 at the earliest. It may be—I think it is probable—that when it does appear in 1959 it will make no difference whatsoever to the scheme that we have to develop—except this, that the deficit of water at one end and the demand at the other would increase and that another two years would have to pass before the reservoir could be developed. As it is, under the present scheme, before we have water from the new reservoir, another seven or eight years will pass, years of great difficulty, incidentally, to industrial Lancashire. That being so, as the scheme will be likely to be the same in two years' time, we prefer to move as rapidly as we can to get these supplies as early as we can for the needs of the foreseeable future.
The hon. Member for Merioneth said, "After all, if you take our water we can never get it back except at a price You take the water and it is possessed by a monopoly." I would say to the hon. Member for Merioneth that that water has not been used for industrial purposes in North Wales over many years, and there is no great sign that North Wales is preparing some vast plan of expenditure for industrial development of the 1188 sort and degree that we have in the industrial North-West. I am quite certain that those who are connected with Liverpool Corporation would be only too happy upon the most reasonable terms they could, if more water were to be needed in North Wales in the near future, to give any reasonable assistance in return for any supplies which are taken from an area which at the present time shows no great signs of having or of being likely to have the industry to consume the water, which will be available in reservoir and piped if this scheme goes through as is planned.
The House will forgive me if I have taken a little time, but honest arguments require fair answers, whether one agrees with them or not, and I have been trying to give those answers. There is another aspect of this matter, an aspect which was pointed out movingly by the hon. Member for Merioneth. That is the position of those who will be dispossessed if this scheme goes through. I agree that whether the number be seventy or whether it be 700 the principle is the same. I do not disagree on that, but what I do say, and I say it with all the emphasis at my command, is that if it is decided that in the interests of a large number of people the rights of a very small number of people are affected, then, subject to proper safeguards for the minority, the right of the majority must prevail.
I think it is clear that if the land is flooded that will make very little appreciable difference to agriculture. Of course it will make a little, but no one would suggest that those six farms are farms which have a significant effect upon food production. The individuals who live there, and the individuals who live in the hamlet which is to be submerged, have rights, and they are rights about which Parliament should be very clear.
What I mean is this. I know that the Corporation—I have no reason to doubt its good faith—says it wishes to rehouse and resettle those seventy people. In my view it is a case in which there must be generosity. It is not enough to say, "We can take their land and we can put them on precisely equivalent land and in precisely equivalent houses." They cannot be compensated entirely for being uprooted, whatever is done for them. In common justice, it is necessary to give them more than exactly the same as if they were moving of their own accord to another place.
1189 These things are difficult, and I do not see how they can be put precisely into Acts of Parliament. The Liverpool Corporation has already shown that it has experience of these matters at Burnaby, but it is only right that if the Bill, as I hope it does, goes through to a Select Committee, that Committee, having heard the views expressed in full House, should make it absolutely plain that, if a Measure is passed, real generosity is expected to be shown to this handful of people. The fact that they are only a handful makes them no less important. Real, proper, generous treatment should be given. I am sure that if such a lead were given, the Liverpool Corporation, like any great corporation, would he inclined to do more than justice.
A new source of water for the Liverpool Corporation area is essential for the near future. I believe that whatever criticisms may be made against it, this scheme is the only practical scheme that has yet been put forward. I believe that it can be brought into operation, if generosity and understanding is shown, without undue hardship. There are many technical matters and matters of detail to be decided, but I suggest that the Bill should be given a Second Reading and that those things should be decided by a Select Committee of the House.
§ 8.13 p.m.
The Reverend Llywelyn Williams (Abertillery)
No one could possibly complain of the tone of the speech of the hon. Member for Garston (Sir V. Raikes). I applaud the hon. Member for putting his case sincerely and moderately. I am sure that every hon. Member who heard the two opening speeches in opposition to the Bill by my hon. Friend the Member for Merioneth (Mr. T. W. Jones) and my hon. Friend the Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts) will have been moved by the passionate sincerity with which that opposition was expressed.
There are many ways of approaching the conflict of interest that so obviously is now occupying the attention of the House. Possibly not all of us will agree on the right and proper arguments to adduce in the debate. One point must he made. Indeed, it has been made already. It is that there is a remarkable unanimity in Wales. We are not without our failings as Welsh people, and one thing which has always characterised Welsh people as I have known them is that so rarely 1190 can one find them agreeing on anything. But on this matter the House should take cognisance of the almost phenomenal unanimity in Wales. No doubt like many other hon. Members, I have been supplied with a list of the religious organisations, embracing all the denominations in Wales, the cultural bodies and bodies representing all facets of Welsh life, all of which are opposed to this Private Bill.
I represent a constituency in an anglicised part of Wales. I am proud to notice that two of the local authorities in the western valley of Monmouthshire, Abertillery Urban District Council—very far removed from Tryweryn — and Abercarn Urban District Council have joined with county councils, borough councils, urban district and rural district councils and parish councils in opposing the Bill.
Hon. Members on both sides of the House must look very carefully at this opposition. It must not be dismissed as a lot of Welsh sentiment. On too many occasions in the past there has been a tendency to ride roughshod over sentiment, and a tremendous amount of trouble has ensued. Whilst my approach to this matter would be on lines rather different from the approach of sentiment, nevertheless all of us would be well advised to take notice of the remarkable feeling in the Principality of Wales about this Private Bill.
The argument which appeals most to me is the argument that has to do with the new conception of planning in Britain. The great mistake in the past, more in the remote than in the near past, has been to be completely without any conception of planning in our industrial development. When I think of the way in which important industries in the country have been prodically and wastefully developed, I feel proud that after the war a new outlook on planning was made manifest in the country.
Surely, no hon. Member would deny that it has been very unwise planning to have over-centralised industrial units. The London area, the Midlands and Liverpool are examples. It is contrary to all enlightened sociological opinion to perpetuate this concentrated, intensified industrialisation. That is why I suggest to the hon. Member for Garston, who spoke about the future industrial and domestic requirements of Liverpool, that the time 1191 may well have come when that type of industrial development should be curtailed or should not be allowed to continue any longer.
§ Mr. John Tilney (Liverpool, Wavertree)
Would not the hon. Member agree that planning takes a long time, and would there not be much prodigality and waste while the waters of the Dee flowed unused into the estuary?
The Rev. LI. Williams
I would remind the hon. Member also that this scheme will take ten years at the very least and there is no reason why we should not be thinking seriously now of the industrial under-development in the area affected by the Tryweryn scheme.
I am very concerned about North-West Wales. It is one of the social tragedies of our times that that area, which I know so well, has been denuded increasingly every year by the migration of its people from that type of community to the industrial centres in the Midlands, Liverpool, and elsewhere. I want to redress that grievance. I want to lend my support to any effort which will mean the bringing of industry to that area. Beyond dispute, that area has one economic asset and that is water. [An HON. MEMBER: "The only one"] The slate industry is a declining industry and I believe that in future water will be increasingly important in the industrial scene. That is why I think the Liverpool case, put quite moderately by the hon. Member, has been in the Bill exaggerated out of all proportion, and not sufficient attention has been paid to the claim of North-West Wales for some place in the industrial sun—if I may use that rather strange expression.
I shall speak bluntly, as my hon. Friends have done. I was very hurt by the way in which the Minister for Welsh Affairs acted towards the committee which the Government set up. That committee has, in a very real sense, been operating in a vacuum during the last few months, knowing all the time that all its recommendations would prove fruitless in view of the ambitious scheme which the Liverpool Corporation was determined to bring before the House. In some way the Government could have advised the Liverpool Corporation Bill sponsors to have awaited the recommendations of 1192 that committee. I am sure that Wales feels as strongly as I do.
I do not want to speak at length since no one can add to the effectiveness of the case already put by my hon. Friends, but I wanted to assure the House that, whilst they have a more direct personal interest in opposing this scheme, I, representing an industrial area in the South, claiming at least to know the various aspects of Welsh life, feel that I should, and must, join my support with them in opposing the Bill. Obviously the only way in which we can really get down to the question of conservation and distribution of water is to have a national grid. Water is a national asset. That is why I think this harsh intervention of a big municipal authority such as the Liverpool Corporation will not help in that important job which awaits us in the future.
I am proud to think that my party is firmly committed to that policy. I know that hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House who may not like the word "nationalisation" very much, at least feel that a strong argument can be made for a national grid for the supply of water in this country. I put it to both sides of the House that in a clash between the nation and a city, in a clash between the interests of a conurbation which has developed too much already, with an area which has been under-developed, surely the good sense and the enlightened opinion of th House should be with us who oppose this Measure.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Mr. John Tilney (Liverpool, Wavertree)
I was much interested in the remarks of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Abertillery (The Rev. LI. Williams), for whom I have had a high regard for many a year. He referred to water being a national asset. I cannot follow his argument when he recommends that this water should run to waste and that nothing should be done for its conservation for many a month and. possibly, many a year.
The Rev. LI. Williams
I ask the hon. Gentleman at least to get what I said in true focus. I was not suggesting that this valuable asset should run to waste what I was suggesting was that it should be used to help an area which really needs to use that water for the attraction of new industries.
§ Mr. Tilney
I see no reason why that should not be so. The hon. Gentleman also said that this reservoir would take ten years to build, but if we do not start building it now, it will take twelve or fourteen years, and in the meantime the water will run unused to the sea.
No country in the world has been more wasteful of water than Great Britain has been in the past. When I go to Africa and Asia, and see how little water they have, it makes me wild to realise how good Providence has been to this island and how little action man has taken to conserve the gifts of God to us. Here whenever one wants to use water in one's garden or on one's motor car, there is usually some order that it must not be used. In my view it is entirely our own fault that we have not taken sufficient action in the past.
There is one other thing I want to say to the hon. Gentleman. I understand that the Liverpool Corporation is prepared to let the Counties of Merioneth and Denbigh have what water they want once it is conserved—
§ Mr. Tilney
I do not want to be cross-questioned on that. I am not a city councillor, but I understand that the Liverpool Corporation is prepared to help those two counties.
§ Mr. Tilney
I think it is of great importance that this should be put into the Bill once it has been given a Second Reading and is being considered upstairs. I was sorry that I was unable to hear the whole of the speech of the hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. T. W. Jones), but I heard what was said by the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts). He referred to the water required for the development of Wales, as did the hon. Member for Abertillery. By this enterprise, Liverpool, admittedly, is virtually doubling the supply of water. The consumption of water in the Liverpool area is 50 gallons a head a day—not the 31 gallons mentioned by the hon. Member for Caernarvon. In the United States the consumption is 150 gallons per head per day.
If we are to progress, the consumption of water will increase tremendously year by year and unless we take action now, 1194 water will be exceedingly scarce in the years to come. It is worth while noting that even in an extremely dry year the quantity of water which Liverpool will be authorised to take, namely, 65 million gallons per day, would run to waste into the estuary of the Dee. In a year of average rainfall twice the quantity required will run to waste and in wet years it will be anything between 195 million gallons and 260 million gallons per day.
Is it not time that we took action to conserve that water—very belated action? In my constituency of Waver-tree there are many Welsh people, many of Welsh descent and many Welsh speaking, and one is extremely sorry that with so many great links between my City and Wales this quarrel should have come into the open. I hope that some arrangements can be made in Committee to meet the very reasonable requests of the people of Wales. I cannot believe that the City Corporation of Liverpool will not do that. The Corporation has been generous in the past and I see no reason why it should not be generous in the future.
The opponents of the Bill have sent every hon. Member various photographs of the land which will be under water in future. I suspect that similar photographs could have been taken of almost any reservoir in the country. It is a question of the greatest good of the greatest number. There can be no doubt about that. In the ten years the scheme will take, the amenities will be protected by earth dams and there will be none of the ugliness of leats or great stone walls built across the lovely Welsh countryside. In that time there is a chance of saving water not only for Liverpool and Lancashire and the industrial development we want so badly, but for the people of Wales as well.
I have every sympathy with the view of the hon. Member for Abertillery that these conurbations have gone far too far and that it is time industry went into the country. If we get on with this scheme, there will be water for everyone. I urge hon. Members before they cast their votes tonight to look at the map and to see that there is virtually a God-given aqueduct in the River Dee coming out of the mountain fastnesses of Wales and to remember that the Dee and the Clwyd Rivers Board supports the scheme, as do the water associations of the whole country.
§ 8.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Eirene White (Flint, East)
I am very glad to have the opportunity of saying a few words in the debate, because I believe that I am the only Welsh Member who is at the receiving end of the Liverpool City water supply. Part of my constituency is entirely dependent on Liverpool for its water supply and in the past few years has been asking Liverpool to give it a very much more substantial supply than Liverpool has felt able to concede. So I have a very strong constituency interest in the scheme.
I know there are many farmers in the rural district of Maelor who are very anxious that the Bill should go through. However, there is nothing in the Bill, no definite statutory obligation, to make Liverpool Corporation do anything for that rural district once the Corporation has got the water. That is a defect in the Bill. I understand that the Birmingham Corporation, for example, entered into statutory obligations to serve certain other areas, but Liverpool has omitted to do so in this Bill. That makes my support of the Bill in this respect rather weaker than it might otherwise be.
It is also fair to say, as the hon. Member for Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) said, that since the earlier disagreement on the Bill, in very recent times the Clwyd and Dee River Board has approved the scheme in general terms. Again, there is a blemish, in that the Liverpool Corporation, having gone a fair distance to meet the River Board in other respects, for some reason or other is being extraordinarily difficult over the relatively small point of safeguarding the fishing interests. I should have thought that it was in Liverpool Corporation's interest to meet the River Board on this minor point, having met it on a number of major ones.
Having given two very strong reasons for supporting the Bill I am proposing to vote against it tonight. I propose to do so not because I oppose the scheme as such; frankly. I am not competent to judge upon its technical merits. My reason is that I believe that many hon. Members are put in great difficulty when Private Bills are considered here, because we have nothing but ex parte statements. We have the two authorities, each naturally and very properly wishing to stand up for its own interests, and we 1196 get each one obviously putting the case as strongly as possible from its own point of view.
That is only one reason why I feel that this procedure is completely unsatisfactory. Many of those who may vote against the Bill tonight will be doing so not out of any antagonism—certainly not towards Liverpool—and not even necessarily because they think that the scheme is a bad one—indeed, in certain respects I believe it to be a very good one—but because they think that we cannot go on time and again having this Private Bill procedure, with one large corporation after another seeking powers to impound water, when we, as a Parliament and nation, refuse to deal with the problem of what we should do with our water supplies.
In support of what I have said I want to refer briefly to a most interesting article which appeared most opportunely in The Times on 24th June. The writer, who is an authority on the subject, pointed to the enormous increase in our national water consumption both absolutely and per head. Since 1938 our consumption, nationally, has risen from 650 million gallons to 905 million gallons, and although our storage capacity has increased by no less than 25 per cent. since 1945, neverthelesswe are rapidly approaching a period in which water will be a major factor in determining our standard of living and the location of industry.The writer goes on to say:with the present organisation of over 1.300 undertakings, the water industry is clearly going to need a gerat deal of guidance to meet this situation.That guidance has not been forthcoming so far.
In spite of that, however, we in Wales have been given this Committee, which is to look into our position because we are one of the big supplying areas for the rest of the country. I cannot think that it would really hurt Liverpool interests so much if it continued its planning—there must be a great deal of preliminary work that it can still do in preparation—and said to the House. "We are willing to put a Clause in the Bill to postpone its coming into operation for a period of say, 12 months." That would give the Minister a chance of telling the Committee to concentrate upon North-West Wales—leaving the 1197 southern part and possibly even mid-Wales for a later stage—and give those who want some objective information upon the matter a chance of obtaining a fair picture of the actual situation.
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
Is not my hon. Friend a little confused about the procedure with regard to Private Bills? Is she not confusing the fact that the Committee stage is not heard by a committee composed of Members arguing the merits of each Clause, but a committee before which expert opinion will appear, which can be cross-examined? Is not her point therefore wholly met?
§ Mrs. White
No, it certainly is not, because the terms of reference of any Select Committee do not require it to consider the total water resources—it can go into the merits of a particular scheme—or the methods that should be adopted. There are points of finance which, under the present state of our law, could not come within the purview of any committee which was set up.
Many of us feel that water is one of our great national assets from which we should derive full value, and we do not get that under the present procedure. That is not our fault. It is because of the present arrangements whereby all the water undertakings operate. But many of us believe that to go on rateable value—which is, in effect, what happens, and which, as my hon. Friends will know only too well, with equalisation grants means that a very much lower rate of benefit is obtained than might otherwise be the case—is not necessarily the right and proper way to work. It stands to reason that these great catchment areas are precisely those areas where we have sparse populations, with few natural resources and so on, and where there exists a great burden of maintaining social services, communications and the rest.
After all, water is no more God-given than other natural resources for which hard cash has to be paid. It is only right that the House should consider these matters before coming to a decision. Hon. Members may say that that is being hard on Liverpool. I think it is, and I have every sympathy with Liverpool. But if time and again this House simply passes one Bill after another on special pleading 1198 from local authorities, knowing the inertia of Governments—I use the term Governments in its generic sense, I am not referring particularly to Conservative or Labour Governments—unless they are forced to face these problems, we shall go on postponing a decision year after year on the considerations which I have mentioned and which are put forward so clearly in the article in The Times.
Therefore, it is not out of any criticism of the Liverpool scheme—because I repeat that from my constituency point of view it has definite advantages—but because I think it our duty as legislators to make the country face this issue that I ask hon. Members to reject the Bill.
§ 8.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Norman Pannell (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
I wish to apologise to the House for not being present during the earlier stages of this debate. In consequence, it is possible that some of the points I should like to stress have already been dealt with, but, even so, I consider them worthy of repetition.
I wholeheartedly support the Bill. I think it absolutely essential for the future and prosperity of Liverpool. All hon. Members who have read the circumstances of the case will agree with me. At the same time, I have certain misgivings with regard to it. I have a great affection for Wales and the Welsh people. Many thousands of them live in my constituency, and I reside within ten miles of the border of the Principality. I have spent many holidays in Wales and frequently make excursions into the country at weekends. I make a habit of putting a haversack on my back and walking round Lake Bala once a year. The physical exertion entailed is fully rewarded by glimpses of what I consider the most wonderful scenery in the United Kingdom. That, I think, will not be affected because of the safeguards which are given
There is another problem regarding which I have great misgivings. I am not happy about the terms of compensation provided in the Bill for those who are to be dispossessed of their homes and property. This loss cannot be measured in terms of money. Some of these families have been there for generations, and, in my view, it is not sufficient to compensate them for the intrinsic value 1199 of their property. It is said that money does not make happiness, but, at the same time, it makes misery much more endurable. It is in that spirit that the promoters of the Bill should consider the terms of compensation. In my view, those terms as they read are extremely harsh. They are weighted in favour of the Liverpool Corporation. I can understand that it is difficult to introduce into a Bill of this kind precise compensation terms of a more generous nature. Some effort should be made in that direction, because everything in the Bill is permissive. Even the power to rehouse is not obligatory.
It is stated that power is sought to acquire sites three and a half miles away where houses will be built to accommodate those who are dispossessed. There is no mention of the rents which will be paid. There are other matters which are left vague and indefinite. As a member for many years of the Liverpool Corporation I know it has treated these matters with great generosity. There is no reason to believe that it will not do so again, but that is not sufficient for the people who have been dispossessed. It should be possible to introduce into the Bill guarantees of a specific and generous character. This project will cost the Liverpool Corporation about £17 million. Surely the Corporation can make a gesture of generosity to people who are dispossessed of their traditional homes. If this should cost £20,000 it would be an insignificant sum compared to the total capital sum involved.
I recognise the difficulties of introducing a provision into the Bill in Committee, but I hope efforts will be made to do so. I believe that the Corporation is willing to consider such a course. For my part, and I think I speak for many hon. Members, my attitude towards later stages of the Bill will be conditioned by what happens in the Committee in this respect. I say that because in matters of this description the scales are weighted against the individual and in favour of the powerful Corporations.
I would stress one point that has been overlooked, and that is the definite benefit which the Bill will confer upon the Principality of Wales. Liverpool has for many years had water undertakings at Lake Vyrnwy and other parts of Wales, and in respect of those undertakings the 1200 Corporation pays out no less than £208,000 a year in rates to outside authorities. Of that sum, £45,000 a year goes to Wales. The scheme which we are now considering is much greater in its scope. The total sum that the Corporation of Liverpool will have to pay per annum to outside authorities is estimated to be not less than £576,000 a year, of which £141,000 will go to the Principality of Wales and in particular to the area where this dam is being erected.
§ Mr. Arthur Moyle (Oldbury and Halesowen)
Are not those costs the ordinary costs of any going concern, not paid by the Liverpool Corporation but by the people who use the water which the Corporation supplies?
§ Mr. Pannell
The scheme will create an asset which will be revenue-producing and which did not exist before. Part of the revenue derived from the asset will revert to Wales.
§ Mr. G. Roberts
I take it that the hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) is referring to the extra rates that the source authorities may get from the construction of these rates. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that for every £1 the Chancellor of the Exchequer will take away £1 in equalisation grant?
§ Mr. Pannell
I am afraid I cannot say that. I do not know the circumstances in regard to equalisation grant, but I believe this matter is under reconsideration and that there may be a drastic revision of the provisions. All I can say on the merits of this case is that the Corporation will pay to the Principality £141,000 a year, the bulk of which would go to the County of Merionethshire. I should think there would be a very substantial sum for the development of that rather undeveloped area of Wales.
It should be stressed that Liverpool, which by its initiative is promoting this scheme, will incidentally bring great benefits to Wales. On the financial side, Wales will benefit to the extent of this very large sum annually.
§ Mr. Pannell
Those figures have been given me by the financial expert of the Corporation of Liverpool, in whom I repose the greatest confidence.
§ Mr. Idwal Jones
There has been a remarkable jump in the rateable value which it is suggested Liverpool Corporation will pay. When I asked a Question last December, it amounted to only £350,000. I am at a loss to see what has caused the tremendous rise in that figure.
§ Mr. Pannell
In this matter I am dependent on the expert opinion of the City Treasurer of the Corporation of Liverpool, who gave me this figure only yesterday. I personally have no reason to dispute it, but it is quite clear that, in introducing this scheme and promoting this project, Liverpool will be paying a very large sum to authorities outside the confines of the city. Whatever happens to the money, in the ultimate result Liverpool will pay, roughly, £140,000 a year as a result of this scheme. That should be stressed because there is a tendency to regard the scheme as detrimental to the interests of Wales and beneficial only to the City of Liverpool.
I had not intended to make more than those few short points. I hope that hon. Members will consider the Bill very carefully and will not be carried away by emotional considerations, but will recognise the vital necessity of the Bill to the City of Liverpool and to the future and prosperity of hundreds of thousands of people. I hope that they will cast aside their prejudices, examine the problem and regard it from a logical and reasonable point of view, and will give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ 8.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
In the last seventy years Liverpool has drawn most of its water from the north of my County of Montgomeryshire under an Act of Parliament—passed, I think, in 1880—which enabled it at that time to block a valley. As a result some five miles of valley is under water. There is undoubtedly a very beautiful lake of about eleven miles circumference and water from it supplies Liverpool at present.
I should like to join with the hon. Member for Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) in paying tribute to Liverpool, and 1202 especially to Liverpool Corporation and its leaders, for their courage, foresight and determination and also their generosity. They undoubtedly have done their very best not only to maintain the amenities of that valley but to add to them, until undoubtedly today it is one of our beauty spots.
I do not remember the actual removal of the people from the valley, nor even the flooding of the valley, although I well remember that the people had to leave their homes which they cherished. New cottages were built for them, which were probably far better than anything they had previously occupied. I well remember the tragedy which was caused in that part of the world by that Act. The things which the people cherished were under water. The graves of their ancestors, the old church in which they worshipped and the chapels which they had built were under water.
Without going into the question of pure finance and the effect of the equalisation grant, I should like to add that, as a result of putting in the reservoir and the pumping stations and everything that is needed to remove the water from Lake Vyrnwy to Liverpool, the rateable value of that rural district was greatly increased. so much so that nearly half the rateable value of the county, which is very low, is within the rural district where that lake is.
It is significant that the memories of what happened still remain. The rural district council met and discussed this matter, and it had before it all that Liverpool had to urge. Let us remember that they know the generosity of Liverpool, but almost unanimously the rural district council voted against this proposal, so that the people of Merioneth would not have to suffer with the people of Montgomery.
Those are the views of people who have passed through this experience. Therefore, it is not merely a question of finance; there is the far bigger one—the human question. Without doubt, as pointed out by my colleagues from Wales, the human sympathy of Wales has been touched throughout north, south, east and west, and it is not confined to Wales. Opposition has extended to wherever Welsh people are to be found, and they are hoping that the Bill will not be given a Second Reading.
1203 It has been suggested that this plan which Liverpool is now submitting will probably fit in with a greater one—a national plan. Will it, of necessity? This, of necessity, is a Liverpool plan. This, of necessity, is one which suits Liverpool, and it might very well happen that, when all the circumstances and the needs of the people everywhere are considered, this would not be the site that would be chosen. Yet, if this is done, then obviously we shall be unable to undo it; we shall have to accept it as such and do the best we can. This is obvious even in my county for the North is supplying Liverpool with water, as just over the border, Radnor-shire in the South is supplying the City of Birmingham with water.
Who is to know what will happen to the shifting population of the future—not the very distant future but the fairly near future? Development plans are now being considered in connection with a new energy which is to be developed, a new energy, as I understand it, largely dependent on the supply of water. We shall have to choose, and what will happen about the trend of population? The trend during the last 150 years, because of the situation of power which was to be found where the coal was, has been either to South Wales, to Glamorgan, Monmouth and Carmarthen or to the North, like the constituency of the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), into Flintshire and Denbighshire.
Populations, however, are not static. Who could have foretold 150 years ago what would happen? Certainly we cannot foretell, so quickly have things moved in the first half of this century, what will be the position at the end of the century. Therefore, certainly for the last quarter of a century, being familiar with the position of Liverpool and what had happened in my own constituency, and, as I have said, full of praise for the courage and foresight of the Corporation and leaders of Liverpool at that time, I felt that they were, naturally, in the state of things as they were then, thinking only of themselves and not of anybody else.
For example, there is a town separated from Liverpool only by the Mersey. The two towns are very dependent upon one another, but in putting forward to the House of Commons the scheme which 1204 produced water for Liverpool from Lake Vyrnwy, Liverpool considered only itself. It did not consider what would be happening to its close neighbour Birkenhead, who had then to see whether it could find some other Welsh valley which it could block—and, indeed, it did.
Obviously, what is needed is what has already been brought into being—a national survey. Then we may know exactly what are our sources of supply and we can do the best we can, with the human limitation that we have to see how best they can be linked together.
At the same time, I ask the House to bear in mind that mere financial considerations are not all. There are the deep human problems. I am not pressing the national point of view of Wales and everything in Wales for the Welsh people. We are partners together in this great island, where our people work together. But I would ask the House not to do what has so often been done by using the power of the majority to dominate over the minority, who also have their feelings and their position.
There is only one other thing to which I would call attention. There is a pressing need in my county. We are a poor county. We are purely agricultural. We have never been able to develop any industry outside agriculture. Time and time again, however, we consider what we can do to bring water to every little village community and to every farm.
My county council has on more than one occasion been on deputations which have consulted members of the Government about what might be done. All the time, whatever scheme the county has in mind, it must be realised that on the north of the county and on the south we are precluded from doing anything by two Acts of Parliament, one which gave special rights to Liverpool and one which gave special rights to Birmingham. The result is that in anything we do we are hampered by what has already been decided by this House and by the other place—by Parliament in general.
In the meantime, as I have so often pointed out, we are suffering from the exodus of our young people. They go to Liverpool and to Manchester and to Birmingham. We are an agricultural county, on which Liverpool has depended for its health and prosperity, yet our 1205 population has steadily gone down year by year. Is that in order merely that Liverpool might prosper? Are we not entitled also to ask this House to take the more general view about what is best for the whole population?
One hon. Member spoke of the greatest good for the greatest number. That may be. If, by the greatest number, he means the nation as a whole, I would agree, but if he merely means that in Liverpool there is a population greater than there is in this little valley of Tryweryn that is a different matter. I sympathise with Liverpool in its need, but we should abandon the doctrine of first come, first served. We should look at the needs of the population as a whole, and Liverpool will lose nothing by waiting until we get that done.
§ Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham.)
Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman sits down, may I, as one who fishes at Capel Celyn—which we call "Catch 'em and Kill 'em"—ask him if he could tell the House anything about a rumour that the Atomic Energy Authority has been looking at this area from the point of view of the production of atomic energy?
§ Mr. Davies
All I can say is that I myself have seen the Authority. I know that it is considering—and I cannot go further than this—what is the most suitable site, and I do know that its greatest need in that regard is for a sufficient quantity of water. I could not possibly go further than that.
§ 9.6 p.m.
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Mr. Henry Brooke)
I speak tonight with a conjunction of responsibility, first and foremost as Minister for Welsh Affairs and also as Minister of Housing and Local Government—that being the Minister on whom this House has placed responsibility to promote the conservation and proper use of water resources both in England and Wales.
I think that I should tell the House, because I want to put before it all the Information that is available to me, that, in my capacity as Minister for Welsh Affairs, I have received rather more than 600 protests against this Bill—680 to be exact. I have received 95 from local authorities, 210 from church, trade union, 1206 political and other voluntary organisations of one kind and another, and 375 from private people. I have read everything that I have been able to see written in the Press by both sides about the Bill and about Tryweryn. I have visited Tryweryn and Capel Celyn, and I have met members of, I think, nearly all the families likely to be affected if this Bill goes through.
The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) said that the Parliamentary procedure was unsatisfactory in that the House could not get all the guidance it required. I shall not go into technicalities tonight, because those are obviously a matter for the Committee. The Parliamentary procedure enables technical matters to be thrashed out in Committee. But I think that it is also customary that the responsible Minister speaks on Second Reading, and I shall try to discharge my responsibilities as well as I can in that respect.
The Liverpool plan is to impound water in the Tryweryn Valley which, at present, is flowing down the Dee through Wales, into England, back into Wales and out into the estuary—water that is now flowing to waste. The scheme is that by the use of this reservoir, it will be possible to secure a steadier flow of water down the Dee, releasing water when the river is low and holding it back when the river is in flood. It is no doubt because the Dee is severely troubled by flooding and that there is a great variation in the seasonal flow, that the Dee and Clwyd River Board, as the hon. Lady said, supports the Bill as a whole, though it has criticisms of it in detail.
Liverpool's plan is, further, to extract water from the Dee lower down, at a point where it is flowing through England. I am advised that the only reasonable way of using the water that is coming off the mountains around the Tryweryn Valley is to take it down the Dee Valley. It is almost inconceivable that it would be reasonable, by tunnelling and pumping, to take it through the mountains somewhere, whether down to South Wales or to North-West Wales into Gwynedd, where new industry is so much needed.
It is wholly right that the House of Commons, when considering a Measure like this, should pay full regard to the strength of Welsh feeling. There are misunderstandings among many people on 1207 both sides in the matter—misunderstandings about the technicalities of this scheme. But, apart from that, there is deep, widespread and genuine feeling in many parts of Wales that Liverpool's action is aggression that must be resisted. It is my duty, as Minister, to submit a report to a Committee of either House, and in the Report which I submitted on this Bill to the Select Committee in another place, I used these words:There is the disquiet and depth of feeling amongst many Welsh people that the proposal of the Liverpool Corporation constitutes an English intrusion, which they ought to resist, upon Welsh nationhood and cultural life and aspirations.With the permission of the House, I should like to develop that for a moment. I speak with all modesty, not being Welsh myself, but, as I see it, Wales has its own language, its own traditions and its own history, and these together form a distinctive, but almost indefinable, Welsh way of life. Particularly in the Welsh-speaking parts of the country, such as that round Tryweryn, there is a deep-down sense of belonging to a rather special community. In philosophic terms, the values of the Welsh people, and particularly those who live in Welsh-speaking Wales, are not quite the same as in England or anywhere else, and why should they be? There is more quality in variety than there is in uniformity.
For many years, the distinctive nationhood of the Welsh nation has been felt to be under threat of eventual disappearance through absorption into all the rest of British life. This follows historically from the Industrial Revolution and the power which industrial civilisation, as we all know, can exercise in making the whole world smaller. Every year, more and more tourists and holiday-makers are coming from England into Wales. More and more, the barriers which can preserve the old country way of life seem to be disappearing. More and more links are being forged between industry in Wales and industry in England and between the economic life of Wales and that of the rest of Britain, and if integration becomes complete, Wales as a separate nation may become forgotten and the Welsh language may die out.
It is from causes like this that very great numbers of Welsh people feel that it is specially important to preserve the 1208 difference between Wales and England which does survive. That is how they come to be opposed to any semblance of pressure, even if it is quite unconscious pressure, to absorb Wales into the English way of life.
At the ultimate end, the opposition which has manifested itself in Wales to the Liverpool scheme is not based on simple issues like balancing the hardship caused to 60 people by having their homes flooded and needing to move some miles down the valley, against the increased rateable value, the increased employment and the improvement in water supplies on the way down the Dee. It is far deeper than that. It is opposition by people who feel that perhaps the critical point is being reached in the fight to keep Wales different from England, and that it is vital, on Tryweryn, to make a stand.
I have called attention as well as I may in my Report to all this. I have called attention to the displacement of population that would follow in Capel Celyn.
Here I want to pause for one moment because the right hon. Gentleman and others have spoken movingly about the shift of population. I am bound to tell the House that there was no similar protest that I can trace when the North Wales Hydro-Electric Power Act went through Parliament a few years ago. That Act authorised work that was liable to displace a considerably greater number of people than would be affected at Capel Celyn.
There was nothing like the same protest from Wales on that account, which confirms me in the view that the protest is motivated in large part by the feeling that this is action to the benefit of England rather than Wales; that that is the motive rather than absolute resentment that a reservoir should be built where people's homes may be submerged.
§ Mr. G. Roberts
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether any of the people concerned in the hydroelectric scheme objected to being moved?
§ Mr. Brooke
Yes, there certainly was objection. There certainly was a defence committee. It was before my time—
§ Mr. T. W. Jones
I represent that area. There was no objection whatever. The local council held a public meeting and 1209 there was unanimous support for this scheme. I must point out that it did not involve a chapel or cemetery, but at the utmost half a dozen houses.
§ Mr. Brooke
I must tell the House that the powers which were granted by that Act certainly authorised the submerging of all that I said.
§ Mr. Brooke
I really ought not to give way because I want to allow time for hon. Members to wind up the debate.
I turn to Liverpool's water situation. I summarised that in my report to that Select Committee in this way, that Liverpool Corporationhave a real and urgent need to augment their water resources if they are to fulfil their duty of providing adequate supplies to their domestic and industrial consumers and to meet the needs of adjoining areas which are dependent upon supplies provided by them.However long one examines the water situation, and however many additional bodies are set up, whatever organisation we create, it will remain true that North Wales is the most obvious and the cheapest source of water supply for Liverpool. The other possible alternatives in the Peak District and the Pennines are already fully committed, and it would be very substantially more expensive for Liverpool to obtain water from the Lake District than from North Wales. Indeed, in a wholly rational world, forgetting national or county boundaries, there is little doubt that it would be water from the area which we are discussing which would be regarded as the most suitable to meet Liverpool's needs. Liverpool did, in fact, investigate six other areas in North Wales and rejected them in favour of Tryweryn. All those six areas remain; they are capable of being dammed and of providing further water supplies for Welsh or English requirements.
Reference has been made to the financial effect on the local authorities. Obviously, there would be a considerable increase in the rateable value of Merioneth and of the other counties, Montgomery, Flint and Denbigh. I certainly confirm that that would be offset, in whole or nearly in whole, by loss of equalisation grant. I find it somewhat difficult to square the stress laid by hon. Members from Welsh constituencies on 1210 the desire for Wales to stand on her own feet with the apparent lack of reluctance that local authorities should make good their rateable value through the equalisation grant scheme rather than through improving their own rateable values in their own areas.
I must refer to the effect on future industries in the valley, from Tryweryn right down to the Dee, because as Minister for Welsh Affairs I regard this as one of the most important aspects of the matter. There is no question that employment has been falling away over the decades in North Wales, and it would be wholly wrong to take some action that would lessen the chance of establishing industry where industry is needed. To the best of my judgment, and I have taken what advice I can, it would be almost out of the question for large-scale industry to come to that area. It could not do so without polluting the Dee, which is providing drinking water for three-quarters of a million people down its course, apart from its value as a fishing river.
In my judgment, no action that is proposed to be taken by Liverpool here could reduce the chance of the Dee Valley attracting industry. On the contrary. There would be a more steady flow of water down the Dee, and I understand that the Liverpool Corporation has given an undertaking to supply up to 5 million gallons a day to authorities or industries down the river which would need it—and 5 million gallons is sufficient to supply the needs of a good-sized county borough. All these considerations lead me to think that, if anything, the prospect of industrial development in the valley would be increased rather than decreased by the change.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say something about the matter raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) and by the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) on the possibility of atomic energy plant being established there? What would be the daily supply of water needed for an industry of that kind?
§ Mr. Brooke
Yes, I should like to speak about that. The new projects which might come to Wales are not only atomic power stations but chemical processing, 1211 oil refining and the like. All industries of that kind, including atomic power stations, are almost certain to go to the coast or to an estuary, because of the enormous quantities of water which they require. I cannot think that it is conceivable, at any rate in the present state of knowledge, that any part of this valley would be chosen as a site for an atomic power station in preference to a site on the coast or on an estuary.
§ Mr. S. O. Davies (Merthyr Tydvil)
This is of vital importance to the whole issue. Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that if this valley were dammed, the water could be taken from the valley to supply any atomic energy station to the west or south-west of it or on the coast? Would he consider the ordnance map before he commits himself absolutely to support the very weak case of Liverpool as he is now trying to do?
§ Mr. Brooke
I have given my best attention to the matter and I have consulted water engineers. The best advice that I can get from them is that it would be quite unreasonable to try to get water out of this valley in any other direction than down the Dee, because of the colossal expense. And on the other side of the mountains there are ample water supplies, because the rainfall is heavy.
I was asked about the water survey. There is no water committee, as one or two hon. Members said. I am hoping that there will be an advisory committee on Welsh water supplies when the technical survey is completed. At the moment we are pressing on with that survey. It is clear to me, from all the knowledge that was available even before we started it, that the Tryweryn Valley is an area of great water surplus, and not of shortage. I set the survey on foot largely because I was looking years ahead, and I did not want a situation to arise, in South Wales or anywhere else, where industry might grow and where there would be found to be a lack of water in an area. One must look decades ahead in water matters.
That was the reason why I initiated this survey, and I believe it will be of great value. At present there is no lack of water in Wales generally, and in this area there is a great exportable surplus. 1212 I considered very carefully and sympathetically the plea made by the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East and others, that the sensible thing to do would be to postpone action by Liverpool for two years until the result of the survey was available. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am advised that to do this would be to take a grave risk for little result, because there can be no question that any survey by any water expert, Welsh or English, will reveal other than a very large exportable surplus in that area.
It was the Chairman of the Dee and Clwyd River Board who said the other day that of the total rainfall on Wales only about 2 per cent. was now piped away to England. So that Wales has a vast exportable surplus of water, over and above all her foreseeable needs, which is at present running to waste.
There was an interesting paper which Dr. Buchan of the Geological Survey—here I am quoting a Scotsman and not an Englishman—read to the River Boards Association not long ago. In it he pointed out that the average rainfall per head of population which is available for use, after allowing for evaporation, is in England 662 gallons per head per day and in Wales 3,802 gallons per head per day—more than five times as much. That is the reason why Wales has a colossal water surplus.
Looking as far ahead as I can and taking into account all that surveys or committees may reveal, and all the possibilities of national grids and any other likelihood, the needs of the City of Liverpool can reasonably be met from the Tryweryn Valley, with no economic loss whatever to Wales but some potential economic gain.
I have to advise the House, taking account of all my responsibilities, which I have listed. There was a recent debate in the House on water in which special emphasis was put on my responsibility to protect the conservation and the proper use of water resources in England and Wales. I accept that responsibility. Liverpool has brought forward a plan. It has been through nine days of detailed examination in Committee in another place, and has been unanimously reported on favourably by that Committee. That does not prove that it does not require 1213 further technical examination by a Committee of this House, but what I have said should cause hon. Members to pause before, in advance of technical examination, they reach any conclusion that on technical grounds there is not a strong case for the Bill.
§ Major H. Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
My right hon. Friend has said that he thinks that there is a case for a technical examination by a Committee of the House. It is possible that I may be Chairman of that Committee, if the Bill gets a Second Reading. It is important to realise that no Committee of this House is qualified to deal with the matter. We may get the case put to us by counsel and have technical evidence called before us, but this House cannot provide a Committee which can judge technically.
§ Mr. Brooke
I thought it was understood, when one spoke of technical examination, that our admirable Parliamentary system is that the technical experts appear before the amateurs, and I hope that we shall always do it that way.
As the Minister responsible for water conservation and use, I am bound to advise the House that Liverpool has a case which merits the most serious consideration in Committee. If the House were to reject the Second Reading without subjecting the Bill to examination in Committee, hon. Members who had voted for the Bill's rejection would saddle themselves with a very grave responsibility for water shortages which might occur in the next few years on Merseyside and in south-west Lancashire. I cannot believe that preservation of the Welsh way of life requires us to go as far as that. I cannot believe that the Welsh people of all people want to stand outside the brotherhood of man to that extent.
§ 9.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Tudor Watkins (Brecon and Radnor)
The right hon. Gentleman should at once take steps to delete the words "Minister for Welsh Affairs" from his title. I am privileged to wind up for the side which has moved the Amendment because I live in one of the counties which is a great exporter of water.
In Breconshire, we supply water to fourteen separate local authorities outside 1214 the county. We are proud of that, and we have been able to make very good arrangements for it. The promoters of the Newport Corporation Bill did not meet a local requirement, and the Bill was therefore rejected by the Select Committee which examined it. If this Bill receives a Second Reading, it is possible that the Select Committee which examines it will come to a conclusion similar to that of the Select Committee which considered the Newport Corporation Bill.
The Minister set up an advisory committee because of the activities of Liverpool Corporation. Although he set up the committee, he does not know how far its work has proceeded. I am certain that if the Minister asked for it the committee could provide him with an interim report, and I am sure that Liverpool Corporation would accept an Amendment to allow that to he done.
§ Mr. H. Brooke
There is no possibility whatever of getting a report from this survey—it is not a committee—in time for Liverpool to introduce the Bill again in the next Session of Parliament.
§ Mr. Watkins
I am tempted to reply that if the American nation wanted a camp in Breconshire they would do it in a month.
I want to refer to what was said in another place. Lord Moyne there said that it was illogical to have an inquiry after and not before the Bill, and there is some substance in that statement. If the largest catchment area remaining in Wales is outside the survey it will make that survey a farce. There will be no point in making it. Surely the Minister can ask for a survey to find the Welsh mountain valleys which are suitable for reservoirs; the hills which are suitable for afforestation, and the places in the lowlands which might be utilised for agriculture. I am certain that as a result of such a survey, and with the good will of the Welsh people, those requiring water would be able to get it from Wales.
I am glad that hon. Members on both sides have spoken in favour of a national grid, and I hope that the Minister will take note of what has been said about that. I am sorry that I cannot say anymore about an advisory committee, because my time is limited, but I want the promoters to put a better case to the House of Commons than has been put so far.
1215 The best thing I can say about the report of the Minister of Housing and Local Government to the Select Committee is that it is a recapitulation of the case for the Bill. That is what is said of him as Minister of Housing and Local Government. Did he have any regard to his position as Minister for Welsh Affairs? Does he remember going to the little valley of Tryweryn, where a little girl presented him with a bunch of primroses and the newspapers the following day said that he had earned a friendly kiss? I will not say anything more about it, except that the kiss which the little girl gave him will mean something else to her if the Bill receives a Second Reading tonight.
There were 680 protests; I am grateful to the Minister for giving us the correct number. As Minister for Welsh Affairs he is the voice of Wales in the Cabinet. He gave us a very good survey of Welsh life. If he had given it in Welsh it would have been a very good initiation for him as a bard at the National Eisteddfod. I would remind him that there are reports upon Welsh affairs. Table 8 of the Report on the Second Memorandum of the Council for Wales deals with the percentage of piped water supplies in Wales in rural districts, for each county.
If Liverpool gets all the water it wants what will happen in Merioneth, where only 61 per cent of the rural districts have a water supply; in Caernarvon where the figure is 70 per cent.; Breconshire, with 77 per cent.; Radnorshire, with 54 per cent., and Montgomeryshire with 26 per cent? The average for Wales as a whole is 72 per cent., which means that nine of the counties for which the Minister is responsible have a piped supply below that average. He should have had regard to that fact when he submitted the Report to the Select Committee about the requirements of these Welsh counties.
He should be aware that according to the 1951 Census Report on Merioneth, Montgomery and Radnor 44 per cent. of the households are without the exclusive use of a piped water supply. The average for England and Wales is 17 per cent. He has a responsibility for finding some means of providing piped water supplies for those three counties. If he thinks that Liverpool have been so generous, I would ask him to consider the 1951 1216 Census. If he does so he will find that in the Llanfyllyn Rural District Council 65 per cent. of the households are without a piped water supply.
§ Mr. Brooke
That is the responsibility of the local authorities concerned. There is plenty of water; the trouble is that much too much is being allowed to run to waste.
§ Mr. Watkins
May I take it from what the Minister has said that the credit squeeze on these small rural water supplies is lifted from now?
§ Mr. Brooke
There is a great deal of water enterprise going on and I want to see it go faster. I am disappointed that some Welsh local authorities do not seem to me to take their responsibilities in this matter as seriously as I do.
§ Mr. Watkins
I am sure that all Welsh local authorities will be able to frame a grave indictment against the Minister tomorrow morning. I hope they will. I did not wish to use political arguments in this connection, I have tried to avoid them, but I am bound to do so because of the utterances of the Minister himself.
I wish to say to my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mrs. Braddock)—it appears in page 7 of the evidence given to the Select Committee—that no statutory obligation is in the Bill to give a gallon of water to the Welsh counties or to any Welsh interests. The hon. Member for Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) tried to give an undertaking about putting in a Clause to this effect. Why has not that been done already? Can I obtain an undertaking from my hon. Friend the Member for the Exchange Division that a Clause will be inserted?
The Minister told the Select Committee that South Wales was too remote to get water supplies from the Tryweryn Valley. That may be true today, but what will happen in twenty years' time. Is Tryweryn further away from South Wales than the Lake District is from Manchester? I think that the Minister will find that Manchester is further away from the Lake District than South Wales is from Tryweryn. Yet the Minister actually stated that; but I am sure that, after he has been to the beautiful Welsh valleys, he will realise that he was wrongly advised. One witness from Liverpool who appeared before the Select Committee 1217 said that there could be an undertaking hut that there would be strings attached to it. We do not want any trade union practices here—
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
If my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mrs. Braddock) gives the undertaking for which my hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Watkins) is asking, will he then vote in favour of a Second Reading for this Bill?
§ Mr. Watkins
I am sorry, but that is only one of the indictments which have been made in this debate.
The water supply of this country should not be monopolised by any water undertaking or by any authority, and I am surprised that in 1957 a local authority should promote a Private Bill to do such a thing. Let me remind the Minister that each time local authorities try to promote Private Bills to add to the area within their boundaries for housing purposes, they are told that it is a national problem. Would it not have been better if the Minister, who is responsible for Welsh affairs, had told the Liverpool Corporation that this was a national problem?
I protest at the way in which my constituents may have to go without water because other places are getting it. I hope that the nation will raise its voice in favour of doing something on a national scale. We must do away with the Select Committee procedure. If this be a national problem I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) will vote for the Welsh people. He cannot disagree with me when I say that this is a national problem and not a problem for the Liverpool Corporation. I ask the House not to give a Second Reading to the Bill. Let us have the report from the advisory committee and then Liverpool can get its water.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mrs. E. M. Braddock (Liverpool, Exchange)
Having listened to the whole of the debate, I think I may say that the whole House is agreed that there should be a nationally controlled water scheme as soon as possible.
In the meantime, large local authorities like Liverpool with responsibilities not only to their citizens but to very many 1218 other areas, have to deal with these matters according to their financial opportunities. Liverpool, after many years of devastating unemployment, has attracted to itself industries which have created almost full employment, and until such time as legislation preserving all the water in this country for use by all our people has been accepted in this House there must be some way of meeting the needs of large communities. When a national water scheme comes into operation the existence of water schemes financed by large municipal corporations may make its introduction much easier.
If the approval of the Bill is delayed or if the Second Reading is not agreed to, it will be at least three years before anything further can be done in this matter, but action is imperative in the interests not only of Liverpool but of many other areas. If I now refer to my brief it is because I expected that I should not have long to address this House, and I wanted to present all the salient facts.
Firstly, the need for the Bill arises not only in Liverpool but in the whole of North Merseyside, Chorley and twenty-four authorities, including some in Wales, on the line of the Rivington and Vyrnwy aqueducts. This is a regional and not a local scheme. At present, demands already exceed the yield of existing sources, and no new demand for water can be met. If the people to whom Liverpool Corporation has an obligation increase their demands and if Lancashire increases its industrial capacity and requires more water, Liverpool cannot meet the demand.
The scheme has passed through another place, and would meet the needs of everybody for at least forty years. That is an important point if we are to consider a nationalised water scheme. There will be benefits to the River Dee. The scheme, as worked out with the river board, will reduce floods in the Dee Valley and will increase the flow in times of little rainfall. It must be well known to those who have studied this matter that excellent agricultural land is sometimes completely flooded and becomes useless because there is no way of controlling the flow of the Dee waters. That agricultural land has a higher productivity than the land that will be submerged if the scheme of the Bill is accepted.
1219 Essentially, this is a river conservancy scheme which will benefit the riparian owners and authorities both in England and Wales who are now authorised to take water from the Dee. Tryweryn reservoir will be operated under the direction of the river board, to the benefit of the river. As to the effect in the Tryweryn Valley, the scheme is designed to do as little damage as possible to homes and agriculture. The land to be flooded is not of high agricultural value.
I want to set at rest one or two anxieties which have been disturbing people about this scheme. In the first instance, Liverpool did not decide on the site for a scheme without consulting those living in the district. It picked out three important areas from where it might be possible to obtain water, the Lake District, Lancashire and more than one place in North Wales, and a personal letter was sent to every tenant in the area in which borings were to be taken.
That letter stated that Liverpool Corporation was doing some exploration with reference to water and did not want to do anything without the personal agreement of every individual in the area. A stamped addressed envelope was included with the letter. Some tenants replied and some did not. Rather than start a scheme in a place where tenants had not replied, Liverpool Corporation sent some of its staff to interview personally those who had not replied to the letter. Only in circumstances where agreement was reached that something might be looked at in the area was anything done at all.
Liverpool did not "walk in" without some sort of approach and did not do anything until it received the permission of the people in the area which was to be looked at, not only in the Tryweryn Valley but the other two places which were considered before Liverpool decided on the scheme which it thought would be the best. Then, and only then, when Liverpool had decided which in its opinion would be the most useful site—not only to itself but to those to whom it had to supply water, in addition to the use of the River Dee—was the approach made to the local authority. There was no need to approach a local authority if there was no question of doing anything in its area. After that, Merionethshire local authority was approached.
1220 In fairness to Liverpool Corporation, I had to say that because many comments were made that it "walked into" those areas and did not consult anyone. There was nothing of the sort. Nothing was done that was not agreed to by the tenants in the area.
Some disturbance of the inhabitants is, of course, inevitable. Everyone deplores the fact that in the interests of progress sometimes some people must suffer, but that is progress. Liverpool Corporation has said that in every instance in which people will be displaced from their homes it will build new homes for them and, wherever possible, it will obtain for them —by powers it will be able to obtain— alternative agricultural land on which smallholders can continue their farming operations. I give that guarantee, which has been given by Liverpool Corporation.
We looked at many schemes, in the Lake District, Lancashire and North Wales, before this scheme was adopted. Local and other authorities were consulted, and no information was refused to them. The benefits of the scheme to the Dee and the area dependent on the corporation for water far outweighed the disturbance which will be caused to the valley. Rehousing people at a new site in the valley cannot destroy Welsh culture. Let us remember the happy atmosphere at Lake Vyrnwy and the amenities which Liverpool Corporation has given to people displaced in that area. One has only to visit the place and to talk to the people in the area to appreciate that. We would do exactly the same at Tryweryn. The Minister's report on water resources cannot affect the present urgent need for water and the fact that this is a good scheme for a wide area. The smaller reservoirs suggested by the county council are not practicable on economic grounds.
In addition, there has been some question about whether Liverpool Corporation would give a guarantee that people who require water, either for private use in houses or in industry, in the Merionethshire area would be allowed to take water from the reservoir. I want to give a very specific and detailed guarantee here and now. Because this was specific and detailed I want to read it exactly as stated by the promoters.
I admit that if the Bill goes through to Committee there are difficulties about 1221 incorporating things of this sort in it. They are difficulties of legality. In order that there may be no ambiguity about it, I will read exactly what the Liverpool Corporation says. I am a member of the Corporation and I am speaking now as a representative of the Corporation and giving a guarantee that what I am saying will be acted upon if the Bill receives a Second Reading tonight. The guarantee is:The Corporation are quite prepared when the works proposed in the Bill have been constructed to afford a metered supply in bulk from the reservoir either to local authorities or to industrial consumers or others in the Counties of Merioneth and Denbighshire provided that the local statutory undertaker in the area concerned is not in a position to supply those requirements and does not object to such supply being given and provided that the Dee and the Clwyd River Board whose control over the water in the reservoir will be paramount has no objection…Someone exclaimed "Oh". It is the river board that is the responsible authority and would have to agree—The Corporation will submit for consideration by the Committee to which the Bill may be referred provisions for insertion in the Bill to give statutory effect to this undertaking in such terms and subject to such conditions as the Committee may approve.
§ In giving that guarantee, the promoters will deal with it in that way through the Bill. This guarantee was given to the Merionethshire County Council when the Liverpool Water Committee met the County Council. It did not comment about it, but said that even though this guarantee were given it would still have to oppose the Bill. That is the position at the moment. Having given that guarantee and having said that Liverpool will go so far as possible in order to mitigate any difficulties and give every assistance possible, I hope that the Amendment will be withdrawn in order that the Bill may receive the necessary investigation.
§ The Deputy-Chairman of Ways and Means (Sir Gordon Touche)
rose in his place, and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.
§ Question put accordingly, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 166, Noes 117.1223
|Division No. 161.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Finlay, Graeme||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Fort, R.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Foster, John||Kaberry, D.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Fraser, Sir Ian (M'ombe & Lonsdale)||Kimball, M.|
|Ashton, H.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Lawson, G. M.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Gammans, Lady||Leavey, J. A.|
|Barber, Anthony||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Barter, John||Glover, D.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Godber, J. B.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Graham, Sir Fergus||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)|
|Blackburn, F.||Green, A.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Logan, D. G.|
|Boardman, H.||Gurden, Harold||McAdden, S. J.|
|Bowden, H. W (Leicester, S.W.)||Hamilton, W. W.||MacColl, J. E.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Hannan, W.||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Braine, B. R.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesfd)||Maddan, Martin|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Mahon, Simon|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hesketh, R. F.||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Mathew, R.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Holmes, Horace||Mellish, R. J.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Cooke, Robert||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Moody, A. S.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hoy, J. H.||Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.)|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Hubbard, T. F.||Neave, Airey|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Deer, G.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Page, R. G.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Duthie, W. S.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Elliott, R.W. (N'castle upon Tyne, N.)||Iremonger, T. L.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Irvine, A. J, (Edge Hill)||Pentland, N.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Pitman, I. J.||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Popplewell, E.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Pott, H. P.||Sparks, J. A.||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Prentice, R. E.||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Steele, T.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Proctor, W. T.||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Raikes, sir Victor||Stones, W. (Consett)||Wigg, George|
|Ramsden, J. E.||Studholme, Sir Henry||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Redmayne, M.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Rhodes, H.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Ridsdale, J. E.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Temple, John M.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Ross, William||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Woof, R. E.|
|Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R.(Croydon, S.)|
|Sharples, R. C.||Thornton, E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)||Mr. Woollam and Mr. Kenyon.|
|Skeffington, A. M.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Pearson, A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Peart, T. F.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Hastings, S.||Probert, A. R.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hayman, F. H.||Randall, H. E.|
|Body, R. F.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Rankin, John|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Holt, A. F.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Brookway, A. F.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Robertson, Sir David|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Hunter, A. E.||Royle, C.|
|Champion, A. J.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Short, E. W.|
|Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Kirk, P. M.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Daiton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lagden, G. W.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Davies. Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Speir, R. M.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Teeling, W.|
|Delargy, H. J.||McInnes, J.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Timmons, J.|
|Edelman, M.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Usborne, H. C.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Viant, S. P.|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mason, Roy||Wade, D. W.|
|Forman, J. C.||Mawby, R. L.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Monslow, W.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Mort, D. L.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan||Moyle, A.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Gower, H. R.||Nabarro, C. D. N.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Grey, C. F.||Osborne, C.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Padley, W. E.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Grimond, J.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Hale, Leslie||Parker, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Parkin, B. T.||Mr. Tudor Watkins and Mr. Idwal Jones.|
|Bill read a Second time and committed.|