HC Deb 09 February 1966 vol 724 cc398-9
53. Mr. Robert Cooke

asked the Minister of Transport whether she will now announce her approval of the Port of Bristol Portbury Dock Scheme.

Mrs. Castle

I will make a statement on this important issue as soon as I can.

Mr. Cooke

Is the right hon. Lady aware that I was glad to see her smiling when she said that? I hope that she will give this most urgent consideration and resist some of the propaganda which has been coming from South Wales.

Mrs. Castle

I am giving very urgent consideration to this because port development is needed in this country. I want to get the issue settled. I am sure the hon. Gentleman will agree that I must listen to all representations on this point.

Mr. McBride

Is my right hon. Friend aware that yesterday a conference attended by local authorities, chambers of trade and trades councils offered unanimous opposition to this scheme? Will she take into consideration that the scheme, which would cost £37 million to £40 million, when completed would only add to the already existing surplus port and general cargo handling facilities in South Wales?

Mrs. Castle

I am sure that the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) will have noticed the representations being made.

Mr. Webster

Will the right hon. Lady not be impressed by all this heavy lobbying but use her own judgment on this matter and go for the scheme, which is a completely new concept and a small version of the Euro-port, is imaginative and one of the most forward dock proposals yet put in this country?

Mrs. Castle

I shall certainly use my own judgment in this matter and act in the best overall economic interests of the country.

Mr. Wilkins

Will my right hon. Friend remember that it is only within the last few months or so that the authorities of the South Wales ports have realised that this scheme was to come into being and have suddenly started to make protests about it?

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