HC Deb 09 December 1964 vol 703 cc1533-4
17. Mr. Monro

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will initiate a full investigation into the Solway Barrage Scheme.

Mr. Willis

A preliminary investigation of these proposals has already been made. The next step is for the new planning machinery to examine the project, along with similar proposals for Morecambe Bay, in the context of the very substantial and competing claims on the nation's capital investment resources over the coming years.

Mr. Monro

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply, but can he assure me that the county councils and local authorities concerned will be brought into the discussion before a decision is made?

Mr. Willis

The Scottish Development Group has already had discussions with the local authorities on both sides of the Border and also with the North-West Study Group on this matter, as a result of which they have reached certain conclusions. They have also had discussions with Dr. Drew and experts from Strathclyde University. This has established the fact that the feasibility of impounding fresh water in the way proposed requires a further technical survey, which in itself would be a very considerable undertaking. That will be considered in due course.

Mr. Dalyell

Can pressure be put upon the Atomic Energy Authority to be helpful also?

Mr. Willis

When the planning machinery is set up and takes over the consideration of this project it will consider anything that is likely to assist it.