§ 3. Mr. Edward Lyons
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he now expects to announce a decision about the future of the special environmental assistance scheme Operation Eyesore.
§ The Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)
I hope to announce my decision shortly.
§ Mr. Lyons
Is the Minister aware that I make no apology for raising yet again the urgent need to extend Operation Eyesore beyond 30th June? This is the third time that he has given me this reply. Is he aware that some nervous local authorities have already stopped accepting new Eyesore projects, cutting the scheme from 17 to 14 months? Are not the work forces engaged on Eyesore projects in local authorities entitled to know now what the future holds for them?
§ Mr. Rippon
I appreciate the concern expressed by the hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members. It has been a very popular and worthwhile scheme, but it was announced as a short-term measure and it must be regarded in that light at present.
§ Mr. Gower
Will my right hon. and learned Friend remember, in consultations with his right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Wales and the Secretary of State for Scotland, that this scheme has been of particular value to those parts of the country which were disfigured by the Industrial Revolution of the past and whose environment has suffered disfigurement through the operations of our older industries?
§ Mr. Rippon
That is certainly true. I am sure that it has been a very valuable scheme and has served the purpose for which it was introduced.
§ Mr. Sheldon
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware of Early Day 468 Motion No. 267, in my name and the names of a number of hon. Members representing constituencies in the North West, from both sides of the House, regarding the need to continue this scheme for a further 12 months?
As this feeling is so widespread, will the Minister give a very sympathetic answer at an early date?