§ 24. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet received the results of the survey carried out at his request by the National Ports Council into the rôle of non-registered ports; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply. Will he assure the House that the Government will have no truck whatsoever with the sort of threats uttered on television by Lord Aldington-Jones that the non-registered ports would either be forced into registration or driven out of existence, which would come to the same thing?
§ Mr. Eyre
Following the Aldington-Jones Report, it was important to establish the facts about the rôle of small ports and wharves in relation to that of larger ports. The Government cannot prejudge the result of the survey which is taking place, but I am sure the National Ports Council will carefully consider all the information and views put before it. The Government have no preconceived ideas about restricting the rôle of the smaller ports and wharves.
§ Mr. Mulley
Will the hon. Gentleman assure us that this survey will be published and that the House will hear about it as early as the Press, which is not always the case with matters coming from his Department? Will the hon. Gentleman also totally ignore the advice given to him by his hon. Friend, unless he wants an out-and-out confrontation with the whole dock industry?
§ Dame Irene Ward
Will my hon. Friend remember that I am behind my Scottish Friend the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne)? Would it not be a good idea for the Minister to let Lord Aldington know exactly what people like me think?
§ Mr. Ewing
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, contrary to the views expressed by the hon. Member for South Angus, the problem is much greater and more complex than he would have us believe? In places like Grangemouth in my constituency and in Greenock on the West of Scotland, where vast amounts of public money are being spent, ports are being undermined by small non-registered ports like Montrose and other places. The Minister should take this into consideration in his deliberations.