HC Deb 14 July 1964 vol 698 cc1005-6
31. Mr. Watkins

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what action he has taken in respect of the telegram sent him by the Welsh Tourist and Holidays Board on 2nd July about the proposed supersonic testing in Wales during the holiday period, which will result in interference with the Board's efforts on behalf of the industry.

Sir K. Joseph

I have written to the chairman of the Board explaining that the proposed programme of tests are similar to that carried out in previous years; these did not give rise to complaints from anyone associated with the tourist industry, or cause any undue inconvenience, intrusive noise or damage. Therefore I have no reason to think that the future programme will do otherwise.

Mr. Watkins

Is the Minister aware that far more tests are to be undertaken within the next 12 weeks than ever before and that there are already serious complaints from farmers and holiday-makers? We, like the right hon. Gentleman, want to encourage more holiday-makers to come to Wales but if, as it is intended, they have to put up with these bangs they are less likely to come to seek the peaceful atmosphere of Wales.

Sir K. Joseph

I think that the hon. Member has become mistaken in some way. The programme is not larger than before and the only danger to tourism in Wales is exaggerated reports, such as the hon. Member might be giving rise to, which would keep holiday-makers away.

Dr. Bray

Is there not a genuine difficulty here on which the right hon. Gentleman should take action in that the distribution of test areas as it affects the population is a matter on which he is in a better position to judge than the Minister of Aviation? Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the responsibility should be his rather than that of another Ministry?

Sir K. Joseph

That is a different question, but I do not feel that the hon. Member is right. My right hon. Friend is perfectly well aware of the distribution of population when making his decision.

Forward to