HC Deb 29 July 1974 vol 878 cc3-4
1. Mr. D. E. Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many times the Welsh Oil Advisory Committee has met.

The Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Edward Rowlands)

The committee will be formally constituted within the next few weeks and hold its first meeting as soon as possible thereafter.

Mr. Thomas

I thank the Under-Secretary for that reply. What real powers will the committee have to regulate the taking on of oil if and when it starts to flow? Further, what powers will the committee have not only over the extraction rate but also over controlling oil revenues from the Celtic Sea? Does the Minister think that this committee will develop into a more powerful body than the present advisory committee?

Mr. Rowlands

The hon. Gentleman may be slightly confused. This is an advisory committee whose powers are to consider the whole range of environmental and related issues. The proposals in our White Paper on oil are designed to achieve what the hon. Gentleman has outlined.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

Will my hon. Friend ensure that the committee, when appointed, is representative of the whole of Wales territorially—North Wales, Mid-Wales and South Wales?

Mr. Rowlands

Yes, we recognise the importance of the committee's being so representative, because we think that is an issue which transcends the question of immediate areas which might be affected by the development of oil itself.

Mr. Hooson

Is there any prospect of any oil flowing, before we build castles in the air?

Mr. Rowlands

We are not building castles in the air. There are good indications that there is oil under the Celtic Sea, and we should be foolish to under-estimate its importance.

Mr. Kinnock

Does my hon. Friend agree that the headquarters of the Welsh oil authority should be located in South-West Wales in the same way as the Scottish one is to be located in Scotland? Would it not be a most helpful step forward if such an undertaking were to be given?

Mr. Rowlands

We will have to see how things develop. There will be a presence of the BNOC if and when the occasion arises.

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