HC Deb 26 April 1966 vol 727 cc511-2
8. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Power if he will seek power to enable him to insert in the licences which he grants to drill for oil or gas in the North Sea a provision that the relevant shore offices and berthings of apparatus be located in places in Scotland nominated by him.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Power (Dr. Jeremy Bray)

No, Sir. The location of shore installations must plainly have regard to the area of operations.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister not realise that it is completely wrong and anti-British to allow the beneficiaries of these licences to divert their wealth away from Scotland, which depends so much on the North Sea?

Dr. Bray

I am sure my hon. and learned Friend will agree that the most important consideration is to see that the Scottish consumer gets natural gas at the cheapest possible price. This is not helped by unnecessarily expensive distribution systems.

Mr. Manuel

Would my hon. Friend remember that if he is to have a successful distribution of gas in Scotland he must have the utmost co-operation from local authorities in connection with wayleaves?

12. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Power if he is aware that effluvia from drillings for oil and gas in the North Sea under licence drive fish shoals away from the fishing grounds there and are sufficient to imperil the fish and the fishing grounds; and if he will take steps, by legislation or otherwise. to obviate that peril.

Dr. Bray

No, Sir. I have no evidence to suggest that drilling for oil and gas has any adverse effect on fish.

Mr. Hughes

Would my hon. Friend say what scientific inquiries he has made on which to base that answer? Does he realise that fish are very sensitive creatures and can be driven away by oil and gas from their customary haunts?

Dr. Bray

A full investigation was carried out by the California Department of Fish and Game between 1958 and 1960 and it found that there was no deleterious effect on fish. The implication of my hon. and learned Friend's Question seems to be that oil is bad for English fish but might be good for Scottish fish.