§ 29. Mr. Emrys Hughes
asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what steps were taken to remove mines from the Firth of Clyde after the last naval manœuvres; and if he will in future consider taking steps to prevent mines damaging the nets of fishermen.
§ Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing
No steps are taken to remove practice mines from the sea bed in exercise areas, but every effort is made to clear the areas of any mines remaining on the surface or so near to it as to endanger navigation; these practice mines are dummy mines and are not in themselves dangerous.
The exercise areas are chosen so as to minimise interference with fishing. The usual consultations were held before the Firth of Clyde exercise last May, and the naval authorities gave fishermen notice of this exercise.
§ Mr. Hughes
Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that a fisherman whose nets are torn and damaged—and they are very expensive—has a genuine grievance against the Admiralty? Will he sympathetically consider any claims for compensation that are sent to him?
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
In reply to the first part of the supplementary question, we give notice through the liaison officers at the principal Scottish ports in order to try to avoid areas where trawling may take place. If the hon. Gentleman has in mind a specific case, perhaps he will send me details and I will certainly consider them.