HC Deb 27 February 1980 vol 979 cc1350-1
21. Mr. Beith

asked the Secretary or State for the Environment when he expects to receive the proposals of the Alnwick district council for the repair of the Amble North Pier breakwater.

Mr. Fox

It is a matter for the Council to formulate proposals and to decide when to submit them. I can assure the hon. Member that any proposals submitted will be carefully considered on their merits.

Mr. Beith

Does the Minister realise the impossible position in which the council was left when the Ministry of Defence, having caused years of delay to the project—and having promised a massive contribution to it—withdrew from it less than a year ago? Will the hon. Gentleman involve the Ministry of Defence fully in the negotiations that take place and ensure that that Department makes some contribution to the cost, if the council is not to be involved in capital costs and, consequently, rate increases of which his right hon. Friend would most certainly disapprove?

Mr. Fox

The hon. Gentleman is right in that the Ministry of Defence is involved in this in the sense that the council has made certain proposals to that Ministry. However, I am sure that, on reflection, the hon. Gentleman will realise that this is a matter for the Secretary of State for Defence. All I can promise is that when the council makes application to us we shall give that application the fullest consideration.