HC Deb 04 June 1980 vol 985 cc1400-1
6. Mr. Beith

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet received proposals from Alnwick district council for the repair of the Amble north pier breakwater.

Mr. Fox

No, Sir.

Mr. Beith

Does the Minister realise the great difficulties from which the negotiations are suffering because of the huge cost increase that occurred when the Ministry of Defence pulled out of its project? Since everyone accepts that the breakwater will be repaired, will the hon. Gentleman withdraw the block that he is putting on investment by the Ministry of Agriculture in the rest of the harbour, which is desperately needed and which the Ministry of Agriculture would approve if the hon. Gentleman did not block it?

Mr. Fox

Prudence dictates that the question of the breakwater should be settled first and any necessary improvements made. It is wrong to suggest that my Department has put a block on other improvements to the pier. The Ministry of Agriculture rightly decided that there was currently no way in which grant could be paid on that work since the work could be affected if the breakwater was not modernised or improved.