HC Deb 29 November 1971 vol 827 cc16-8
20. Mr. Gwynoro Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations have been made to the Welsh Office in connection with the decision to continue using the Pembrey bombing range; and what reply has been sent.

Mr. Peter Thomas

Apart from the hon. Member's letter of 9th November to which my hon. Friend the Minister of State replied on 23rd November, Llanelli Rural District Council has also made representations. It has been informed that I have accepted the need for the continued use of the Pembrey range for the reasons given in a letter sent by the Ministry of Defence to the clerk of the council on 15th November.

Mr. Jones

Is the Secretary of State aware that not only in the area of Pembrey and Kidwelly but throughout Carmarthenshire, there is great concern regarding low-flying aircraft? Apart from the economic consequences of this decision—there is no economic benefit to the county, and Carmarthenshire receives more than its fair share of this activity—will the right hon. and learned Gentleman assure us that despite this decision, there will be no increase in the amount of such low-flying activity and that it will be brought to an end as soon as possible? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman further ensure that the people who benefit from this decision will be those bearing the brunt of the low-flying aircraft activity?

Mr. Thomas

The level of activity at Pembrey will remain as it is now. As to the value to Carmarthenshire, continued use is necessary in association with Brawdy. An important factor is to ensure the civilian employment at Brawdy.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Will my hon. and learned Friend make it abundantly clear that Pembrey and the Royal Air Force base at Brawdy that it will serve will make an immensely important contribution to employment and the economy of the area, and ensure that this latest Socialist threat to employment in my constituency is firmly repudiated?

Mr. Thomas

Yes, I agree with my hon. Friend that that is important. It is by the use of Pembrey that one can assure continuation of civilian employment at Brawdy.

Mr. Denzil Davies

Has the Welsh Office given any consideration to the effect of the continuation of this bombing range on the plans of local authorities to establish a countryside park within the area, which would help to improve the amenities and be of great benefit to the area?

Mr. Thomas

Yes, Sir. Continued use of Pembrey range should not jeopardise the countryside park project.