HC Deb 22 July 1964 vol 699 cc461-2
13. Mr. Anderson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, as part of the regional development of southwest Scotland, he will investigate the practicability of converting a major part of the Solway Firth into a freshwater reservoir by the construction of a barrage at an appropriate location; and whether he will consult the Minister of Housing and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development to seek their co-operation in the investigation.

Mr. G. Campbell

Yes, Sir. This proposal is being examined jointly by the Scottish Development Group, in its study of south-west Scotland, and by the north-west England Regional Development Group.

Mr. Anderson

Is my hon. Friend aware that the technical practicability of a Solway barrage and also the economic fact that it would pay for itself by sales of water within a period of about 20 years has the support of technicians at both Manchester University and Strathclyde University and of the Director of the Water Research Association? In view of these considerations and also of the increased employment and prosperity which such a scheme would bring to the Annan region and the improved communications across the Solway by a roadway over the barrage, will my hon. Friend give the consideration of this matter a greater degree of urgency than has been indicated by the mere fact that it is under study?

Mr. Campbell

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is aware of the considerable interest in this problem, and particularly the interest shown by Strathclyde University. Although my right hon. Friend could not comment on the merits of it, he is sure that those who are studying the proposal—they are studying it urgently—will take into account what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Dalyell

What consideration has been given to the memoranda submitted to the Scottish Office by Dr. Robert Drew on the subject?

Mr. Campbell

The Scottish Office is considering all representations which have been made on this subject, but it is for the two Development Groups to study the question.