HC Deb 28 March 1963 vol 674 cc1516-8
8. Mr. Warbey

asked the Minister of Power what applications he has so far received for pipeline authorisations under Section 1 of the Pipe-lines Act and what action he has taken thereon.

21. Mr. Wainwright

asked the Minister of Power if he will give the names of the companies which have applied for permission to lay pipelines, the routes involved, and the distance in miles of each project.

Mr. Wood

I have received two applications, from United Kingdom Oil Pipelines Limited and Rugby Portland Cement Co. Ltd., both of which published their proposals. I therefore gave details of them in my Answer of 15th March to my hon. Friend, the Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet). I have allowed the application by Rugby Portland Cement to go ahead and I am considering the other.

Mr. Warbey

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, according to Press reports, he is likely to receive an application from Trunk Pipelines Limited for an authorisation for a pipeline running over the same region as that for which he has already received an application? As the Minister is committed by Section 1 of the Act to have regard to the public interest in making his decision, will he give an undertaking that full details of all applications received by him under Section I will be published, either in the OFFICIAL REPORT or in some other form?

Mr. Wood

I have read the Press reports to which the hon. Gentleman refers and I am expecting an application to build a pipeline from Trunk Pipelines quite shortly. I intend when I get that application to examine both these schemes on their merits before deciding whether to allow either, or both, to proceed. If either, or both, proceed, I know that the hon. Member is well aware of the procedure which would have to take place and which would be an opportunity for any scheme which is allowed to proceed to be examined very fully.

Mr. T. Fraser

Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider my hon. Friend's request? I am sure that he will agree that the provisions to which he has referred do not offer an opportunity for Parliament to consider the details of schemes put before him, which we hope he will consider from the point of view of public interest. In view of the immense importance of these terrific schemes for two oil pipelines, will not he consider whether in one way or another he will bring the details to the attention of hon. Members?

Mr. Wood

In this particularly important case I will certainly consider how this matter can best be dealt with, but I know that the hon. Member is very familiar with the procedure to be followed. When the Trunk Pipelines or the other scheme proceeds, it will be carefully gone into, if necessary at a public inquiry. There will be no doubt at all about the details of the company's intentions and proposals.

Mr. Skeet

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it would be quite wrong to publish details of these schemes until they are gazetted, or details are published in the national Press?

Mr. Wood

My hon. Friend has made a very sound point. The details of the United Kingdom Oil Pipelines scheme were published by the company, but when the details are not published by the company, I should have to consider very carefully whether publication would be right.