HC Deb 15 February 1965 vol 706 cc826-7
14. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how frequently the waters around Holy Loch are monitored for radioactivity; and whether the results are discussed with the United States Navy.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Navy (Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu)

Surveys are made every six months in connection with the operation of U.S. nuclear powered warships in the Holy Loch. The results show only a slight increase in the level of radioactivity attributable to the presence of the warships: this does not constitute any hazard. The results of the assessments are discussed with the United States Navy as and when necessary.

Mr. Marten

Can the hon. Gentleman give the precise percentage increase? Does he recall his own opposition to the establishment of this base? Now that he is in the Government, presumably he agrees with it. Can he give the House his reasons for changing his mind?

Mr. Mallalieu

Opposing the establishment of the base is one thing, but approving its continuance, as I do, once it is there is quite another—if that has any relevance whatever to the Question. All I can say about the degree of the increase is that it is well below any possible danger level.

Mr. Rankin

In view of the deep interest of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) in the Polaris base, would my hon. Friend consider transferring it to Banbury?