HC Deb 16 February 1970 vol 796 cc11-2
17. Mr. Gwynfor Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received in regard to the proposal to move the Shoeburyness gunnery range to the sand beaches of Carmarthenshire.

Mr. George Thomas

I have received about 330 objections from individuals together with representations from over 30 organisations and authorities, including the local planning authority, Carmarthenshire County Council.

Mr. Evans

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the strength and determination of opposition in the area to this project, which could sterilise the area in- dustrially? Is he also aware that this opposition is nowhere found more strongly than among the so-called weaker sex, where the spirit of Gwenllian is now very much alive? Will the Government ride roughshod over the opposition, as they did at Tryweryn?

Mr. Thomas

The hon. Gentleman received from the Ministry of Defence two notices informing him and my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. James Griffiths) of this proposal. My right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly has made representations to the Ministry of Defence. The hon. Gentleman has been completely silent; he has made no representations whatsoever to the Ministry of Defence. I can assure the people of Pembrey and district that there is no intention to ride roughshod over anyone. There will be the fullest possible inquiry.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

I was glad to hear the Minister's last sentence. Does it mean that he is agreeing personally to the inquiry which he has been asked to instigate by the protesting association?

Mr. Thomas

Arrangements about the form of the inquiry are now under consideration. I can give the assurance that every opportunity will be given for all points of view to be thoroughly aired at the inquiry.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Is the Secretary of State aware that those in and around the Shoeburyness area who have had the doubtful privilege of having this gunnery range in their area for many years are only too pleased to go in for fair shares for all and to let Wales have it for a few years? We are glad to get rid of it.

Mr. Thomas

My hon. Friend has a Welsh name, but that is his only link with us.