HC Deb 20 April 1970 vol 800 cc5-6
8. Mr. Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when Her Majesty's Government will make their decision known on the building of a barrage for fresh water conservation across the estuary of the Dee.

The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Mrs. Eirene White)

I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Bebington (Mr. Brooks) on 24th March. —[Vol. 798, c. 400.]

Mr. Tilney

Since almost every month some water authority comes to this House seeking powers to flood some new area of agricultural land and since this project to turn an estuarial desert into a multipurpose reservoir has been discussed for a decade, is it not time the Government made up their mind?

Mrs. White

We are just as anxious as the hon. Gentleman to make progress here. I am sure that he would agree that it would be unwise to come to a decision before we have heard the conclusions from the consultants we have engaged.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

If the Government are so keen about this, why have they slowed down the feasibility study? Was it just because of lack of money or was it because they wanted to get on with some other project?

Mrs. White

There has been no slowing up, but as matters proceed others requiring investigation are uncovered.

Mr. Ellis

If my hon. Friend really wants to go nap on projects in this area why not build a barrage across the Severn? Then we could have as much fresh water for Wales, Bristol and everywhere in the area as well as making a superb area from what is now, because of the high tidal race in the Severn Estuary, a useless spot?

Mrs. White

The two are not mutually exclusive but the Dee project is a good deal further advanced than that on the Severn.