HC Deb 16 July 1969 vol 787 cc586-8
9. Mr. Gordon Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations he has now had with Scottish local authorities and industry about the potential of the Clyde Estuary to accommodate ships of over 300,000 tons and the consequent prospects of development in that area, in view of the continuing trend towards larger tankers and ore carriers.

11. Mr. Monro

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations he has had with local authorities in the Firth of Clyde area with regard to an ore terminal.

Mr. Ross

I refer hon. Members to the comprehensive reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State in the debate on 7th July.—[Vol. 786, c. 1012–23.]

Mr. Campbell

Does the Secretary of State not agree that this potential is likely to be of great significance to the Scottish economy, and especially to the steel industry? Since it is apparently taking from March to October simply to consider changing the terms of reference of the Advisory Committee, what is the Secretary of State doing to promote a good planning system for the whole area? This is essential, since a change in local authority organisation and in planning procedures is likely to take several years.

Mr. Ross

If we had taken the advice of some hon. Members opposite and had waited until we had received the report of the Wheatley Commission, it would have taken a great deal longer. What we have done is to bring local authorities together. We have created growth, and there has been more co-operation and co-ordination. If hon. Members opposite were sincere, I am sure that they could have given a little more help. I can think of only one outspoken defence of what was done, and that was put forward by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor).

Mr. Monro

Most hon. Members thought that the Wheatley Commission would have reported long before now. Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a great deal of concern at the thought that planning may be going on on an ad hoc basis? Surely there should be much more co-ordinated effort between planning authorities on major projects both nationalised and private enterprise.

Mr. Ross

Much of what we have done and are doing in anticipating the coming together of planning authorities could have been done before.

Mr. Galbraith

Instead of getting so angry, could not the right hon. Gentleman use some of his energy to concen- trate on development in an area which is already industrialised, instead of allowing it to proliferate along a coast of great beauty and tourist value?

Mr. Ross

What makes me slightly angry is the fact that the Opposition speak with two voices. The hon. Member does not want this project to go through. He has said so. This was evident in the speech that he made when we discussed the matter fully.