§ 12. Mr. Goronwy Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement defining the administrative status of the Island of Bardsey, off the county of Gwynedd, as a result of the Local Government Act 1972.
§ The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Thomas)
The island is part of the county of Gwynedd but not part of the district of Dwyfor.
§ Mr. Roberts
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the island is a national shrine and has been a place of pilgrimage for many centuries? Is he aware that there is widespread and growing concern about the apparent erosion, in recent years, of public rights of access to the island, and to movement upon it? Does he agree that it is high time—he was given the opportunity in the 1972 Act—he made a definitive statement which would make it clear that the island is not only administratively but effectively part of the mainland and part of the county of Gwynedd, subject to the same statutes and byelaws and with the same protection of public access, including rights of navigation across the sound?
§ Mr. Thomas
I am fully aware of the great historical importance of the island and of the affection in the minds of the people of North Wales for the island. The Local Government Boundaries Commission for Wales will be able to propose under Schedule 10 of the Local Government Act 1972, should it consider it appropriate, that Bardsey Island should be part of the district of Dwyfor.
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman give a fuller reply to my right hon. Friend? Is he aware that Welsh people have enjoyed access to this treasured and historic shrine 13 from time immemorial? Is he further aware that there is widespread concern far beyond Caernarvonshire that access is now to be denied? Will he do all in his power to safeguard public rights and to clarify generally the position, which is causing considerable apprehension in the area?
§ Mr. Thomas
By reason of correspondence which I have had with the right hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Goronwy Roberts), I have gone into the question of access. I do not see how the issue of access rights is affected by the fact that the island is not in the district.