HC Deb 18 October 1982 vol 29 c3
2. Mr. Colvin

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from commercial and community interests in Wales in favour of the Severn barrage.

The Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Michael Roberts)

In total we have received nine representations, of which six directly expressed support for further studies.

Mr. Colvin

Is my hon. Friend aware that he ought to be doing his best to persuade his colleagues to decide in favour of the Bondi recommendations, not only because of the energy producing potential of the barrage, but because it has been reported that its construction could generate as many as 50,000 new jobs? If he does that, there will always be a welcome for him on the hillsides and in the valleys of Bristol.

Mr. Roberts

The main question is whether there is an economic case for the Severn barrage on electricity generation grounds. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and for Energy are discussing that at present.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Is not the Government's inertia over this imaginative scheme appalling, bearing in mind the support that it has been given by local authorities, such as Newport borough and Gwent county councils? Cannot the Minister appreciate that the barrage would produce many thousands of jobs in the construction industry and help to relieve unemployment in the area as well as bringing lasting benefits to future generations?

Mr. Roberts

There is no question of any inertia, nor was that suggested by the Newport council when it met us. It was satisfied with that meeting. We must study the whole matter closely, including its impact on the coal industry.