HC Deb 23 November 1987 vol 123 cc3-4
2. Mr. John Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the total reserves of natural gas in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) the Vale of Pickering.

The Minister of State, Department of Energy (Mr. Peter Morrison)

We estimate that the United Kingdom has in the region of 47 trillion cu ft of remaining recoverable gas reserves in existing discoveries. Reserves in the Vale of Pickering are still being assessed by the licensees.

Mr. Greenway

I thank my hon. Friend for his reply. Is he aware of the widespread alarm throughout Ryedale at the prospect of the construction of a gas processing plant in the Vale of Pickering, which, it is felt, would cause serious damage to the area's agriculture, tourism and race horse training industries? Is he further aware that the local community is not convinced that either the quantity or the quality of these gas discoveries warrants such harmful destruction to the local economy and to the rural environment? Will he do everything in his power to urge Taylor Woodrow Energy Ltd. to publish details of these gas discoveries before the county council reaches its final planning decision?

Mr. Morrison

I am aware of the concern that has been expressed in the Vale of Pickering about the discovery of gas there, not least because my hon. Friend has made me aware of that fact. I can assure my hon. Friend that the development plans will have to pass through the local authority planning procedures and that they will also have to go before the Health and Safety Executive and my Department. All the matters about which both he and his constituents are concerned will be taken seriously into account.