HC Deb 10 May 1962 vol 659 cc607-8
1. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs to which reception area it is intended to send people evacuated from Barking, Essex, in the event of a nuclear war; and, in view of the projected dismantling of the railways, what means of transport it is intended to use.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)

Detailed planning of the dispersal scheme is being discussed with the local authority associations, and in the meantime individual dispersal areas have not been linked with particular reception areas. The scheme will be planned and kept up-to-date in the light of changes in the availability of the different forms of public transport.

Mr. Driberg

Will the Minister fairly soon be able to give an estimate of the number of persons per day or per hour whom it will be possible to move to the reception areas, since, presumably, many of these remote rural areas will be affected by the dismantling of the railways through the closing of branch lines? If he cannot give such an estimate, is it not obvious that this is not a serious scheme at all, but merely a clumsy ploy in the cold war?

Mr. Rippon

I cannot say how much detailed information it may be possible to make available. We are discussing with the local authority associations the issue of a further circular explaining how this plan will be worked. I do not think that the closing of branch lines will make any difference to the effectiveness of the scheme.

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