HC Deb 20 June 1961 vol 642 cc1151-2
13. Mr. Hannan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what redevelopment plans have been submitted to him by local authorities or other interested bodies in respect of the Forth and Clyde canal.

Mr. Brooman-White

None, Sir. I should make it clear that the proposed legislation would provide not for the abandonment of the Canal by the British Transport Commission but for the end of its obligation to keep it open for navigation.

Mr. Hannan

I do not dissent from the decision to close the canal to navigation, but will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the second part of his Answer, namely, that the canal should not merely be abandoned and become a derelict waterway and a menace to children, is most important? What plans does his Department have for the development of this canal, either for roads or as a boating amenity? What financial assistance will it give to local authorities if they wish to redevelop it?

Mr. Brooman-White

None of the responsibilities of the B.T.C. for the maintenance of the canal other than for navigation has been reduced. The future varied uses of the canal is a matter, in the first instance, for the local authorities to take up with the Commission. I understand that certain discussions are at present in progress.

Mr. Willis

Before this decision was made, did the hon. Gentleman have any conversations with the fishermen's associations which are concerned with the use of this canal? If so, were they agreeable to the closing of the canal?

Mr. Brooman-White

They gave evidence to the Bowes Committee about this matter and it was taken into consideration. It was felt that the advantages outweighed the disadvantages.

33. Mr. Small

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received in connection with the decision to close the Forth and Clyde canal.

Mr. Brooman-White

My right hon. Friend has received two representations from private individuals in Oxford and Argyll.

Mr. Small

Is it the intention to spend some annual amount on the maintenance of the canal so that its disuse may not constitute a public menace in the future?

Mr. Brooman-White

If the hon. Member will look, I think he will see that I dealt with that in reply to a previous Question.