HC Deb 24 June 1968 vol 767 cc32-3
49 and 50. Mr. Tilney

asked the Minister of Technology (1) whether he will seek to arrange that those who are considering the reclamation of the Welsh/Cheshire Dee, Morecambe Bay, Solway Firth, and the mudbanks off Foulness will visit the extension into the North Sea of Rotterdam/Europort, the Dutch delta scheme, and the tidal model at Delft, so as to appraise the relative importance of British tidal problems;

(2) what lessons that can be applied to Great Britain are being learnt from the massive reclamation of salt water areas in Holland for fresh water, agricultural and industrial land, and general amenity value, details of which have been sent to him.

Mr. Benn

Staff from my Department provide advice on tidal and other hydraulic problems associated with these schemes and they are in close and continuing touch with the Dutch work mentioned. These schemes are aimed to provide a variety of benefits including land reclamation and water conservation and transport facilities. Responsibility for them rests primarily with other departments.

Mr. Tilney

Is the Minister aware that land in the North Sea is being reclaimed in an area which is now three times greater than the Port of London at about £3,000 an acre all in, and that Holland is growing geographically at the rate of 4 per cent. per annum? Is it not time that Britain grew by at least half as much?

Mr. Benn

The geographical rate growth to which the hon. Member refers, the growth of the United Kingdom, is not my responsibility, I am glad to say. What we do is to provide through the Hydraulic Research Station facilities for those agencies either abroad or at home to make use of the very formidable expertise in this work.