HC Deb 25 November 1964 vol 702 cc1257-8
14. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will specify the steps which are being taken to reduce to a minimum avoidable interference with the fishing industry following drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea.

Mr. Hoy

The companies require the consent of my right hon. Friends the Ministers of Transport and Power before drilling actually begins. Fishing interests will be taken into account and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture will be consulted before consent is given. The steps to be taken to minimise interference with the fishing industry will depend on the circumstances in each case.

Mr. Hughes

Does not the Minister realise that this is a highly scientific matter and that he should be forthcoming with concrete evidence that the drilling which is now taking place will not interfere with the fertility of the fish, the supply of fish for consumers, and the fishing industry? What evidence is forthcoming about that?

Mr. Hoy

My hon. and learned Friend can rest assured that all these points have been taken into consideration. That is why I said that my right hon. Friend would be consulted in all these matters.