HC Deb 30 July 1959 vol 610 cc731-48

2.22 p.m.

Mr. Desmond Donnelly (Pembroke)

Perhaps I may now turn the attention of the House to the problems of the industrial development of Milford Haven. But before I do so, perhaps it might be in order for me to address a personal word to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Some ten years ago you called me to make my first speech in this House. It happened to be a speech about the industrial development of Milford Haven.

In the intervening decade, I should like you to know, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I have had nothing but kindness, courtesy and fairness from you while you have occupied that Chair. If the shadows of a General Election should fall before I have an opportunity of addressing you again in that old familiar place, I should like you to know that you will always occupy a very warm place in the hearts of hon. Members in all parts of this House over which you preside.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. John Taylor (West Lothian)

If my hon. Friend will allow me to intervene, as you know, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, it is not customary for brother Scots to compliment each other, but I should like to join my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) and associate my hon. Friends from Scotland with the sentiments which he has expressed.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Donnelly

I am also grateful to the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs for being here today, I understand, at some considerable inconvenience because of arrangements which he has already undertaken to fulfil. I am told that he even has a helicopter available to enable him to make a speedy getaway after this debate, and, as far as he is concerned, I must say that I can see the advantage of this administrative process.

I should like to say. a word about the background to the problems of the industrial development in the Milford Haven area. It is an area which suffered acutely in the inter-war years. My predecessor, Lord Tenby, said in a speech recently, in another place, that there was a period in the inter-war years when one in two of the able-bodied population in the town of Pembroke Dock were out of work for years and one in three of the insured population in the whole County of Pembroke were out of work. It was then scheduled as a distressed area. It became a Development Area and, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, the actual boundary of the Development Area has recently been extended yet again.

This is the background to the industrial difficulties of the area. It had two main natural advantages. One was its beautiful coastline, but I must say that there is no beauty in unemployment and in seeing men rot. Secondly, it has an undeveloped natural harbour which is one of the finest natural harbours in the world. The original difficulty in taking advantage of this natural harbour was the fact that it was far from the main centres of industrial population. It necessitated an uneconomic process to use this harbour in the export trade on which this country depends.

That was the position right down to the late 1940s and early 1950s. Then gradually, with the growth of the ships visiting the main ports of Britain and with the increase in the size of the cargo boats, especially the bulk carriers and tankers, we reached a situation in which gradually the few remaining places at which these large ships could dock were so whittled down that Milford Haven almost overnight became an important national asset.

Then, as the right hon. Gentleman will know only too well, we had Suez, and among the many disadvantages and shames which Suez brought to this country, it brought the advantage to Milford Haven of making the super tanker a reality and an imperative necessity. As a result, this suddenly became an area of importance in our overseas trade, in certain respects because of its potential and because it was the only remaining place where ships of 100,000 tons could dock with complete freedom at all states of the tide. As a result of this, there has been a sudden development in the area.

There is the new Esso Oil Refinery which involves capital investment of about £20 million. There is the B.P. landing stage at Popton Point which will take the largest oil tankers to pump the oil to Llandarcy. There is the new angle iron ore storage depôt which will eventually take ships up to 100,000 tons, bringing iron ore from Labrador during the ice-free periods, dispersing it and taking it round the coast to the different steel centres where it will be needed.

That was the sudden change. But what does it amount to in actual terms of employment? At present unemployment is low. About 1,500 to 2,000 people are employed on construction at the Esso oil refinery and about 1,000 are employed on construction on the B.P. scheme. But these are temporary con- struction jobs and these men can only remain in employment while the work is actually going on. When the construction is completed, a problem will arise. The B.P. scheme will employ only about 50 people on the landing stage. The oil refinery will employ about 500 on the various processes involved. All the other people will immediately be thrown back on to the labour market in this area where there are very few other alternative sources of employment.

In addition, there is the decline in the ship-repairing industry generally, and, in particular, on the shores of Milford Haven. This is partly because in our case we are far away from the normal shipping lanes, and, secondly, because of the cutting down in the defence programme which has led to a whittling down in the use by the Navy of those areas which it was using as its ship-repairing areas as part of Government policy.

Being off the main routes and the change in the plans of the defence programme have made a new problem arise for the few ship-repairing firms round the Haven. The difficulty is that although, eventually, the traffic will pick up, with Milford becoming a terminal point, it is not possible for these firms to build on a sound, viable basis at the moment and for some time to come. It is not just a matter of next year or the next after, but for a few years there will be a very difficult gap to be filled. It is very important that the local skills should not be allowed to disperse, but the local firms should be placed in a position in which they can build.

Although, superficially, the unemployment figures are low and, in the long run, prospects are good, and although a lot of capital investment has gone and is going into the area, there is a dangerous problem on the horizon. I must say that from this Government we have received a great deal of encouragement. We had the speech of the Prime Minister in the Suez debate in May, 1957. He said it looked as though Milford Haven might become one of the main oil ports of Europe. The Minister of Housing and Local Government on 25th July, 1957, came to Pembrokeshire and told local authorities to Plan big. Do not argue among yourselves. Keep your eyes on the fundamental aim. We greeted those remarks with acclaim.

The right hon. Gentleman came to see us again a year later and in Milford Haven itself, on 28th February, he made a magnificent speech. He said: No development is more important to Wales at this moment than what is going forward on the shores of Milford Haven… . It is of national importance that the Haven should be more fully used… I agree. He also said: the whole pattern of the road and rail communications and power lines and public utility supplies must be worked out with thought not only for the immediate future, but for the distant future too. He ended by saying: The development of Milford Haven could be the admiration of the world. That is magnificent speaking. The right hon. Gentleman does not need a helicopter to get to those heights. It filled us with great hope and as a result the Pembrokeshire County Council and other local authorities in the area with the Precelly Water Board, the main authority for water in the area, all decided to "plan big" and to "keep their eyes on the fundamental aims". They gave earnest consideration to the problem and undertook deep and searching surveys from which they came to two conclusions.

The first was that the industrial development of the area is limited by the amount of industrial water available. This is because the existing water supplies are limited. The heavy demands of the Esso oil refinery have led to a temporary scheme to provide 5 million gallons daily, but that scheme will run out in 1970 and it is a limited scheme. After that, new powers will have to be taken. In addition, if anyone else comes there is no alternative source of water supply to provide 1 million. 2 million or 3 million gallons daily. This is for any industry which might be considering coming into the area. Existing facilities are stretched to their limit at the moment. Temporary facilities are used by Esso. Any new hope is entirely dependent on new sources of water supplies.

In addition, there is the question of communications. We cannot have a development plan unless there is a road and rail pattern and that to some extent it also dictates the way in which use can be made of the deep-water anchorages. Pembrokeshire County Council and Precelly Water Board, as the water authority, in joint consultation arrived at the conclusion that the only way this could be done was to take the Minister at his word, "plan big" and "keep their eyes on the fundamental aim." As a result of that encouragement, they decided that to get over the water difficulties they would consider the building of a barrage across Milford Haven. They decided that in dealing with the road pattern they had to do something about the division of the area into two. At present, there is a ferry between Pembroke Dock and Neyland which is a very unsatisfactory and extremely dangerous ferry. We have nearly had a by-election three times during the time that I have represented the county because of the danger in crossing this ferry.

Considerable expenditure is necessary on the ferry. It has been virtually agreed between the local authorities and Ministry of Transport that £150,000 to £170,000 will have to be spent at Hobbs Point, in Pembroke Dock, and about £80,000 is needed at Neyland; but that is still not the total. If a new ferry is required it will cost another £80,000. Getting on for £300,000 will have to be spent on that ferry if traffic is to move across. A main Milford to London motor road will have to be built and a by-pass may be necessary round Haverfordwest. A barrage could take the motor road across the top and do away with the ferry. The money which otherwise would be spent on the unsatisfactory ferry—which, incidentally, at the moment is losing about £12,000 a year—could be devoted to this purpose rather than having a very substantial loss indefinitely by carrying on on the existing basis. That would be of permanent benefit to the mobility of labour in the area.

This was the initial conclusion and the second conclusion was that if a barrage were used, besides helping transport it would be of inestimable value in providing almost limitless water supplies for the industrial development of the area. As a result, plans were considered to consider building this tidal barrage.

At this point I enter a caveat. I am aware that a Private Bill has been promoted to grant powers for the building of this tidal barrage. Naturally, I do not wish to infringe the rules of order and, therefore, I wish to make it clear that I am not discussing the proposed legislation. I am discussing the situation which exists now without any new legislation. Secondly, I am advised that it would not necessarily mean having new legislation. The provision of a barrage to provide water supplies can be made under existing arrangements with statutory instruments. The roads could be built under ordinary compulsory purchase powers possessed by the local authorities. The question of legislation came in only because of certain other problems which, naturally, I shall not go into today. What I am discussing is the barrage in its administrative and not in its legislative context.

The local authorities came forward with their barrage proposal. Confronted with this sudden change, a revolution overnight in their area, Pembrokeshire County Council, Precelly Water Board and the other local authorities have shown themselves capable of acting with considerable vision and considerable appreciation of the long term industrial and social implications of the area. They deserve the greatest possible credit, their members and officials who have laboured so long over the problems. That was the situation up to a short time ago.

There was great encouragement from the right hon. Gentleman, fine talk from the Prime Minister and great hopes in the area. Then the Minister appeared and said that the barrage was premature. He said that he could not see it being built in present circumstances unless another industrial undertaker was available to make the water aspect of it, which I emphasise is the main aspect, economically viable. That is perfectly sound. The Minister said, however, that it might be required at a distant date, but not now.

The Minister asked his own Advisory Water Committee to consider this, and it reported that it thought that the barrage was a fundamental necessity for the future development of the area. The Minister took a different view. He over-ruled his Advisory Committee, although the Sub-Committee which considered the problem consisted, among others, of two important industrialists with great practical experience and an economist of very considerable national standing. The Minister said, in effect, "No barrage now".

On the other side of the argument, the Pembrokeshire County Council and the Precelly Water Board, as the two promoters of the proposal, said that they had not the slightest intention of building the barrage unless there was a need and use for the water assured and unless a further industrial undertaker cams forward. Their difficulty was that local authorities cannot hope to attract undertakings until they have the facilities available, the powers to provide the facilities or the agreement of the Minister to enable them to meet the requirement. If local authorities do not plan ahead, they cannot expect to attract people to their area. This was the impasse in which they found themselves. However, the Minister said, "Not today, but tomorrow." His predecessor but one was called "Dai Bananas". The right hon. Gentleman will be known in my area as "Henry Manana" unless he does something.

An additional problem is that the Pembrokeshire County Council as the planning authority finds itself in a situation where it cannot prepare its development plan unless it has some idea whether this barrage is to be built, because it just does not know what is to happen to the whole pattern of the area. The present water supply is the ceiling on the development. The present road transport and rail communication system is a limitation on the forward planning of the development plan. Unless this impasse is broken, a very serious limitation will permanently be placed on the industrial development of this area and the hopes which were raised so high in the minds of the people in the district will be dashed.

I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman a series of questions. First, will he address himself to the problem of the one major objection which has been raised to the barrage, which is from the South Wales Sea Fisheries Committee about some oysters which have been put down in the River Cleddau? So long as the present situation continues, the more valuable those oysters become, and the greater will be the compensation to be paid. If the problem is dealt with now and the Minister gives an indication of what his attitude will be, it will clarify the position for the South Wales Sea Fisheries Committee and their oysters.

Secondly, how does the Minister think that a development plan can be settled until the main linchpin of the development plan has been settled? Thirdly, what sort of view does the Minister take about his Departmental responsibilities in relation to the provision of communications in this area? I know that in his other hat he is the Minister of Housing and Local Government. Roads are the problem of the Minister of Transport, and he has not been doing all that well if one judges from the Reports appearing from time to time by Select Committees. Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to take into account the dual problems of water and roads and consider them together?

Finally, how does the Minister propose to avoid setting a ceiling on the industrial development of Milford Haven without facing up to the provision of more water? Water undertakings may be regrouped, but that does not bring any more water down the pipes. Administrative changes may be undertaken, but at the end of it physical action must be taken. What physical action does the right hon. Gentleman propose to take to remove the ceiling on the industrial development of the area?

I am grateful to the House for its indulgence. I feel that there is great opportunity in this district. The Minister for Welsh Affairs of the day, whoever he may be, must be equal to the problem. Therefore, I look forward to hearing the right hon. Gentleman explain his attitude.

2.45 p.m.

Lady Megan Lloyd George (Carmarthen)

It is a very curious coincidence, Sir Charles, that many years ago on the very first occasion when you occupied the Chair I was the first Member you called. It seems very likely that I shall be the last Member you call. I am very glad to think that I have been able to catch your eye from first to last. I should like to join with my colleagues from Wales and Scotland—I am sure that they will be joined by hon. Members from England, and on this occasion I am sure that we can also speak for Northern Ireland—in saying to you on this occasion how much we have appreciated your impartiality in the Chair and your kindness and courtesy on all occasions. You will carry into your retirement our sincere and affectionate good wishes.

I am very glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) has raised this matter. It is a matter not only of great importance to Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, but to the whole of West Wales. I carry the Minister with me in this, because he said that no development is more important to Wales than Milford Haven. As my hon. Friend has already pointed out, the right hon. Gentleman exhorted the local authorities to plan big. He painted in bold and glowing colours a vision of an expanding economy which was to flow from the development of Milford Haven.

The local authorities took the right hon. Gentleman at his word. When they become more used to him, they will realise that there is a discernible gap between his speeches and his actions, but they have not quite reached that state of mind yet. And so they not unnaturally came to the conclusion that the first thing they had to do was to ensure adequate water supplies for the industrial development that the Minister himself predicted for the area. They promoted a Private Bill for that purpose. I know that this is not the moment to discuss the untimely death of that Bill in Committee or the procedure adopted. No doubt that will be discussed in another Parliament, and no doubt my hon. Friend and I will be very glad to take part in those discussions.

When the local authorities followed the Minister's advice, what did the Minister do—the Minister who had exhorted the local authorities to plan big? He recommended the rejection of the Bill on the general ground that it was premature. He went on to say: It may not be wise to proceed with the barrage scheme until the future in regard to industrial development is clarified. It looks as though his helicopter had a crash landing and his vision with it. Not only did he throw his own speech overboard on that occasion; he also rejected the advice of the Committee on Welsh Water Supplies, a body appointed to advise him. This seems to be becoming quite a habit with the Government.

The Committee felt extremely strongly about the whole matter. It said: The warranted rate of economic growth in the Milford Haven area in the next two or three decades will not be possible unless the barrage is constructed. Therefore, in the view of the Committee, the whole of this development which the Minister has envisaged depends on the building of the barrage.

But the right hon. Gentleman says that the scheme was premature. Now this has a far wider implication beyond the case of Milford Haven. Does the Minister think that it is premature that a local authority should assure adequate water supplies if it is to induce industrialists to come to its area? Is this what the Government call providing inducements to industrialists? Is this the policy that we have heard about from the Government bench time and time again—all the inducements which the Government were offering to industrialists; how they were devising all the inducements to bring new enterprises to these rather difficult and inaccessible areas? This is a test case. When the right hon. Gentleman has an opportunity of assisting industrialists, what does he do? He turns it down.

As everybody knows, it makes all the difference in the world to an industrialist, when he is thinking of establishing an industry in an area, to know that he will have an adequate water supply. It will make a very great difference if, when he inquires about Pembrokeshire, the reply is, "At the moment we cannot ensure an adequate water supply. We can do that only when the Minister no longer thinks that our scheme is premature, when the Minister in his judgment and wisdom says, 'Now there has been sufficient industrial development to enable us to go ahead '."

This is a practical test of the Government's policy. This is a very serious matter for Wales. Milford Haven is the one gleam of light in South-West Wales—that is, west of Swansea. The right hon. Gentleman is always telling us how difficult it is to bring industries west of Swansea, although Swansea is only a relatively short distance from Milford Haven, Llanelly, or Kidwelly—and if the transport were better, the distance would be considerably shorter. Because, of course, the transport urgently needs improvement. A short time ago I left Haverfordwest a quarter of an hour after the Pembroke-London Express and I caught it fifteen miles further on with five minutes to spare, with my hon. Friend at the wheel of the car.

Milford Haven can make a great difference to this part of the world. It can help to open up the whole of South-West Wales, where unemployment remains constant, in spite of the recent improvements, which we welcome, but where the old industries are either contracting or dying. If the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues mean business, here is their opportunity to take an important step towards the regeneration of a sorely pressed community.

2.54 p.m.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Mr. Henry Brooke)

I hate to deprive the hon. Lady the Member for Carmarthen (Lady Megan Lloyd-George) of any distinction, but I am glad that her prophecy was not fulfilled and that I appear to have been one more speaker whom you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, have called. I should like to associate myself and the Government to the full in what has been said by previous speakers in the debate. You, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, are one whom we shall sadly miss. You are a friend of all of us here. I am very happy to think that Wales may still be holding the stakes when you leave the Chair for the last time.

We are discussing one of the most important developments in the whole of Wales, maybe in the whole of Britain. The Government's purpose here is so to guide and direct policy as to ensure that the great economic potentialities of Milford Haven and that part of Pembrokeshire will be realised without ruining the beauty of the National Park or the surroundings and without imposing any kind of strain which could not be borne. The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly), who represents that county assiduously, made an interesting speech, but I am sorry that it has shown him so far remote from the realities of Pembrokeshire. It must be the hope of many people that the electorate of Pembrokeshire will think carefully before returning again to the House somebody who seems so out of touch with what is needed there.

Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)

Will that be charged to the election expenses of my hon. Friend's opponent?

Mr. Brooke

The essential point here is that we should plan sufficiently in advance so that there will be the facilities available which industry needs but that we should not spend money so far in advance that the county will be so burdened by its heavy load of rates that industry will be scared away.

Mr. Donnelly

How does the right hon. Gentleman answer the point that both the Pembrokeshire County Council and the Water Board said that they had no intention of spending this money in advance of requirements? They are seeking his agreement to the scheme and not to perform the physical action.

Mr. Brooke

I will deal with that now, although I intended to deal with it later. It is not the custom of Parliament, as far as I am aware, to give compulsory powers to any promoters of Private Bills unless the need for them at the time in question is proved. I take full responsibilty for both the reports which have been mentioned. In reporting as I did on the recent Bill I was proceeding on the basis that the Bill gives compulsory powers. It empowers certain authorities to interfere with private rights, and my view as a Member of the Government is that Parliament should not give such powers on the grounds that they might be needed at some uncertain date but only if it is proved to the satisfaction of Parliament by the promoters that they are needed here and now. That difficulty is not overcome, I submit to the House, by any assurance given by one authority or another that if it is given the powers it will not use them until it thinks they are needed. Once those powers are given, nothing can prevent their use. Parliament cannot withdraw them. Parliament would therefore be delegating a discretion which should be its own to an outside authority.

Not very long after I became Minister for Welsh Aflairs there was sent on my personal authority a letter to the Pembrokeshire County Council dated 10th April, 1957, in which I said: Officers of the Department have already had some preliminary discussions and correspondence with you and the county planning officer, and I am to assure you that they will always be ready to assist in the future whenever the Council may so desire. They will have in mind, as the Minister is sure the Council will also, the need for bringing the amended plan"— that is, the amended development plan— into being as soon as possible so that urgent developments need not be held up and yet can be steered to the sites which are most appropriate to them, having regard to the overall public interest. I stand by every word of that. My Department has been at the service of the Pembrokeshire County Council ever since. Indeed, as the hon. Member for Pembroke probably knows, there have been discussions from time to time. We continue to be at the service of the Council. It is not our fault that the Council has not as yet submitted the amendment to the development plan which I invited it to submit more than two years ago. I am not blaming the Council, because I believe that the planning authority has been under great day-to-day strain. Nevertheless, I wanted to put those words on record because they place beyond doubt the fact that I and my Department are ready at all times to help the Pembrokeshire County Council to find a way through the not inconsiderable difficulties which are involved.

Fortunately, as the hon. Member said, the unemployment problems of the area are for the time being overcome. In the last month the percentage of unemployment in Milford Haven was 3.6 per cent. and in Pembroke Dock 2 per cent. These have to be compared with unemployment rates of more than 10 per cent. only fifteen months earlier. I agree with the hon. Member that this has happened through the heavy labour force which is needed for the construction of the two projects, and we must think ahead and make provision for the future.

The case which the hon. Member sought to bring against me was that by taking the line that one particular scheme for providing additional water was premature I should be preventing the coming of further industry. The first point I make in reply is that the Esso Company came there, even though there was no barrage, and it has been able to make its temporary arrangements for the supply of water. The total water consumption in Pembrokeshire at present is about 3 million gallons per day. The Esso requirement will not go beyond an extra 2½ million gallons per day for quite a number of years, though the company's powers extend to the extraction of 5 million gallons per day out of the Cleddau.

I referred this question of water requirements to my Welsh Water Advisory Committee. I want to seize this opportunity to thank the Committee for the hard work which it does in Wales, not only on this aspect of the water question but on many others, and I look forward in due course to a comprehensive report on the Welsh water question which I think the Committee intends to present to me.

The Report which the Committee sent to me did not seem to me—I must not say that it did not seem to hold water because that would be complicating the issue—to be as firmly based as in my view was needed if the case were to be cogent. Unfortunately, owing to the illness of a certain individual, I was not able to confer with the Committee before making my first report, but I was able to meet leading representatives of the Committee before sending in my second report, which was a document which that Committee accepted.

The essence of the second report was that there was common ground that if more than an additional 15 million gallons of water per day were required, the barrage scheme would be the cheapest way of meeting it. If the additional water supply were between 10 million and 15 million gallons per day, the barrage scheme might be the cheapest way of meeting it. If, on the other hand, the additional water required were less than 10 million gallons per day, the barrage scheme would not be the cheapest method. The water supplied by the barrage scheme would in that case be expensive water compared with the cheaper water which could have been obtained by other methods.

Frankly—and I take full responsibility on my shoulders in saying this to the House—I cannot at present see an additional demand for water extending beyond 10 million gallons per day which would justify the very heavy cost of embarking on the barrage scheme. I would point out that 10 million gallons per day would raise the water consumption in Pembrokeshire to rather more than four times what it was before the Esso requirement for water started. This, frankly, is a matter of judgment, but let me say straight away that had I thought for one instant that the holding up of the barrage for a year or possibly two years would inflict injury on industrial development, I should never have dreamed of advising in that regard.

The barrage scheme is not the only way of obtaining water, though I agree that in many respects it is an attractive scheme. Unquestionably there are other ways in which one could, probably within a shorter time and certainly at a lower cost, provide water up to an extra 10 million gallons a day for industrial requirements. In those circumstances, I said to the Committee which considered the Bill—I am prepared to say it in this House, or in Pembrokeshire or elsewhere—that in my view a wise adviser of the Pembrokeshire people will urge them to examine the other alternative and potentially cheaper ways of making additional water available rather than to commit themselves irrevocably to the barrage scheme.

The hon. Member will appreciate that I must examine the barrage scheme as though it were going to be put into effect, because if Parliamentary powers were given, it could be put into effect without more ado. We have here to reach an economic judgment. Quite clearly an industrialist wants to know whether there will be water by the time that he requires it. He never requires it when he first arrives, because the water will not be needed until the factory has been built and is being operated. But at the same time he will certainly inquire not only about water, but also about the rates in the county; and if the county has committed itself to an excessively large expenditure which might impose a heavy burden on the ratepayers, that might well be a deterrent rather than an attraction to industry.

I must put to the hon. Member that that is a consideration we must never forget when contemplating the wise and right development of an area like Milford Haven. We must never put so much money in at the start as would lead people to think that perhaps it will not be possible to service that money without those that are coming in being called upon to carry an excessive burden.

Mr. Donnelly

No one is proposing that.

Mr. Brooke

The hon. Member is now seeking to lead me into discussing matters concerned with the Private Bill. He knows that I cannot go into that matter deeply. What I have said, and continue to say, is that the right course is for the Pembrokeshire authorities to examine now the various alternative methods by which they could obtain water most cheaply for such industrial development as can be foreseen.

No actual projects have yet emerged, I very much hope that they will do so. I thoroughly believe in Milford Haven and its economic potential. But I would say to the hon. Member that I do not believe that the vast scale industrial development which is embodied in figures like a water demand of 26 million, or 36 million, or 50 million gallons per day would necessarily be best for Pembrokeshire. We do not want to turn Pembrokeshire into another Birmingham. There must be gradual, careful and well thought out development.

I say again that the attitude which I have taken on these water matters has been actuated solely by my desire that nothing should be done which would be premature, that nothing should be done which would be ill-judged and which might have a deterrent effect on the coming of industry. But I certainly regard it as part of my responsibilities that there should be arrangements made in time, and with my authority or the authority of Parliament, for water to be ready for those industrialists who come. I should have thought that instead of quarrelling among ourselves about this matter we should be able to agree on the best way to work together.

Mr. Donnelly

The right hon. Gentleman has not addressed himself to the other aspect of the problem, the communications system. Is he aware that he is taking a very limited view of his Departmental responsibilities as Minister for Welsh Affairs?

Mr. Brooke

No. I am deeply impressed with what my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation is doing to improve road communications in Wales. The hon. Member will recollect that at the outset of my speech I read out a letter which I sent to the county council more than two years ago saying how happy I should be to discuss any of these matters with it which would need to be settled when it was putting up the amended development plan for Pembrokeshire which I am anxious to see.