HC Deb 29 January 1969 vol 776 cc1307-8
6. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Minister of Technology if the final report of the working party on hydrofoil craft has now been completed; if he will publish it; and whether he will now make a statement.

Mr. Fowler

My right hon. Friend has received the final Report of the Working Party on Hydrofoils and is considering how it may be made available to hon. Members and others who are interested.

Mr. Cooke

Will the hon. Gentleman appreciate that there is a lot of public interest in the Report? Members of the public will want to make an evaluation between hydrofoils and hovercraft. Will the hon. Gentleman appreciate that Red Funnel Steamers, of Southampton, for instance, is, I understand, about to operate the hydrofoil and see how it works compared with the hovercraft?

Mr. Fowler

I am aware of what the hon. Member has said in the latter part of his question, and I agree with him that it would be advantageous to the House if the bulk of the Report could be made available. There are, of course, difficulties with information which is commercial and confidential, but we are studying how we can best make it available to hon. Members.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate the great importance of recognising the detraction which inevitably resulted for hydrofoils as a result of N.R.D.C. taking up hovercraft? Bearing in mind that N.R.D.C. obviously cannot take up everything, will the Minister ensure that the hydrofoil conception does not become downgraded unnecessarily simply because N.R.D.C. has taken up hovercraft?

Mr. Fowler

I see no reason whatever why it should be downgraded because N.R.D.C. has not taken it up hitherto. We are certainly trying to look at hydrofoils and hovercraft on a level to see which is better for which job.

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