§ 29. Mr. Donnelly
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what steps he has taken to expedite the provision of water for the Regent Oil Company's proposed oil refinery at Pwllcroehan, Pembrokeshire.
§ Sir K. Joseph
Responsibility for the supply of this water rests with the Pembrokeshire Water Board which on 1st October, 1962, applied to me for an order under the Water Acts to enable it to abstract the necessary water from the Eastern Cleddau River. Objections have been made to the order by the river board and other interests and a public inquiry must therefore be held. This has been fixed for 28th November, 1962, and there will be no avoidable delay in announcing a decision.
§ Mr. Donnelly
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the responsibility for this hold-up rests with one of his more obstinate and myopic predecessors at the time of the Milford Barrage Bill? Can he explain why his Department, which has overall responsibility for water, failed to foresee a situation in which a very important project involving many 781 millions of pounds would be held up and in which a thousand of my constituents were kept out of work over Christmas? Why was not this dealt with in time?
§ Sir K. Joseph
I do not accept that at all. The initiative was firmly with the local authority. As the Minister would have to decide between conflicting interests, it would have been improper for me or for my predecessors to intervene beyond ensuring that the local authorities concerned knew the urgency of the matter.