HC Deb 17 October 1990 vol 177 cc1319-50

Question again proposed.

10.13 pm
Mr. Ron Davies

I seem to have a technical problem: I do not seem to have my notes. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan) is expressing his condolences, but I was not prepared to leave them on my seat while my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) was guarding them. I am not suggesting for a moment that he would have taken them away, but there is a possibility that he might have reordered them.

Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West)

I assure my hon. Friend that I do not have the slightest interest in reading his notes, having heard the identical speech for the fourth time.

Mr. Davies

I must correct my hon. Friend, because this is only the third time that I have made this speech. The first was on Second Reading, and the second was on the carry-over motion.

As you know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, a considerable number of right hon. and hon. Members voted on the 10 o'clock motion, and we must place it on record that the House has decided that the debate should proceed. Therefore, I hope that no artificial device will be deployed later in an attempt to short-circuit the debate.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth has just returned from the Lobby, having voted with more than 160 other right hon. and hon. Members to continue the debate. I hope that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker—out of respect for those of us who opposed the motion and who did not want the debate to continue until a late hour, but who will honour the decision—will not permit a closure motion later. I trust that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth will be consistent and will ensure that there is a full debate. I sincerely hope that he will not attempt to move a closure.

Mr. Michael

The whole gist of my argument was that we should have a full and proper debate on the Committee's report. My hon. Friend surely accepts that the rules of the House exist to protect all right hon. and hon. Members and are there for them to use. My hon. Friend uses them enthusiastically, so I am sure that he would not want to deny to others that same right.

Mr. Davies

We must all exercise our rights, as well as observe the rules of the House in the way that is intended. I was merely pointing out that the House had been given a clear demonstration that right hon. and hon. Members want to continue the debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth said that it is important that we should thrash out the matters in question, so I hope that he will not seek now artifically to restrict the debate.

When moving the original carry-over motion, my hon. Friend said that we should endorse the development that has already occurred and not oppose any further development of the bay. I must make it abundantly clear yet again that we are not opposed to the development of Cardiff bay. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth is rolling his eyes and tutting. He should not do so, but ought to take at face value the points that I and many other hon. Members want to put to him.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is among the bodies that want to see Cardiff bay developed. It devised, at considerable trouble and expense, an alternative scheme, which it presented to the Select Committee, development corporation, local authorities and Members of Parliament. The RSPB made it clear to us all that it is not opposed to the development of the bay. All that is in question is whether the barrage is a necessary prerequisite or will facilitate that development. There is considerable doubt about that. My hon. Friend must accept the considerable body of evidence presented to the Select Committee, suggesting that the development could proceed without the barrage.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth should accept also that the development that has already been undertaken even before the barrage has been approved by Parliament is of a kind that he applauds and wants, and it can continue regardless of whether or not the barrage is built.

Mr. Michael

indicated dissent.

Mr. Davies

My hon. Friend should not shake his head. The proof of my argument is that which has already been built; the evidence has been presented to the Select Committee. The considerable development that has already occurred is proof positive that such work can progress without the barrage. He must accept that that is a considerable body of evidence.

Mr. Michael

It is not.

Mr. Davies

If my hon. Friend does not accept that, he must agree that there is evidence to that effect.

My hon. Friend also mentioned that there would be an improvement to the environment. He said that there would be a better future and a better environment. He knows that it is principally due to my concern about damage to the environment that I oppose the Bill. I hope that he understands that, because my views are sincerely held and are endorsed by hundreds of thousands of people in this country. My hon. Friend is right to say that those people are not directly affected as they do not live in Cardiff, but that does not invalidate their right to an opinion on whether the barrage is environmentally damaging. They have a right to an opinion because the environment of Cardiff bay is part of our common heritage in Britain.

I maintain that, although I live in my constituency of Caerphilly, I have as much right to express my anxiety about damage to the environment in Cardiff as anyone who lives there. People who live in Sandy in Bedfordshire, for example—the home of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds—have an equally valid right to express their concern about the environment, because it does not belong to the people of Cardiff, but is part of our national natural heritage.

In some circumstances my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth argues the case for conservation internationally. I am sure that he will say that the persecution of cetaceans is wrong. I believe that he has made representations to the Norwegian Government about the persecution of some species of whale. He is entitled to do so, as whales are part of our international heritage, and as a Member of Parliament he has an international responsibility to discharge.

I know that my hon. Friend will join me in condemning the destruction of herds of African elephants for their ivory. He nods in agreement. He accepts that such herds are part of our international heritage, and that the Governments and peoples of the countries where elephants are being destroyed have a responsibility to the international community to protect them.

The environment in Cardiff bay is of national and international importance in exactly the same way. Nationally, it is important because it has been declared such as a site of special scientific interest. Internationally, the site is important because the birds that use it are not restricted to Britain but include migrants. As a result, the bay has been awarded protection through our international obligations under Ramsar. The site is also covered by the European directive on the conservation of wild birds.

I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth does not deny that national Governments have a right to sign the Ramsar convention. The importance of the sites covered by Ramsar is international.

I hope that my hon. Friend will accept that we all have a responsibility for the environment in Cardiff. He cannot keep the right to destroy that environment to himself or to the people of Cardiff.

If it could he proved that there was an overwhelming need for the destruction of the environment there and for the development of the barrage to proceed he would have a case. Then we would be able to weigh up the relative benefits and importance of conservation areas against the economic benefits that would result from a development that was contingent on the destruction of the SSSI.If that were the case, my hon. Friend would have a strong point, but the economic case for the development has not been proved. That is why my hon. Friend must address the site of special scientific interest question: why is he prepared to support the destruction of part of our priceless natural heritage for an unproven and unquantifiable economic benefit?

Mr. Michael

I understand the philosophy that underlies what my hon. Friend says: that we have a mutual responsibility for the worldwide environment. However, the Taff-Ely SSSI is a site of national, not international, importance for wild birds. As part of the Severn estuary area, it constitutes a potential, but not an actual, protection area. I believe that the economic case has been made, that we have a responsibility to balance the economic and the environmental arguments, that in this specific location the environmental argument has none of the strength that my hon. Friend has sought to give to it and that it is certainly not comparable with other examples that he gave of sites of international importance.

Mr. Davies


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

Order. I must remind the hon. Gentleman that we are dealing with a carry-over motion. I am sure that he will relate his remarks to the motion.

Mr. Davies

I shall do so precisely, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is precisely because conservation has not been dealt with properly, either by the promoters or in Committee, that I oppose the carry-over motion. The SSSI question was not addressed, either by the developers or in Committee. The Committee took a lot of evidence. It agreed that some of the operations would be very damaging and that there would be a considerable loss of wildlife. However, the question of how the destruction of that priceless asset could be justified was not answered. My hon. Friend may say that that SSSI is more or less important than other SSSIs. I accept that there must be a gradation—that SSSIs may be of greater or lesser importance—but my hon. Friend has not answered certain questions.

First, why is the destruction of this SSSI justified? Why must it be destroyed, in the absence of overwhelming economic evidence? Secondly, and more crucially, if we allowed this SSSI, which deserves international protection, to be destroyed, how on earth could we deny the development of other SSSIs? My hon. Friend has not grasped the point that the destruction of one SSSI would lead to the destruction of the whole system. It would invalidate the protection that is offered to all the other SSSIs.

Mr. Michael

That does not follow.

Mr. Davies

My hon. Friend says that that does not follow. In what circumstances, therefore, would he oppose the development of other SSSIs?

Mr. Michael

I shall have to refrain from intervening so often, even though my hon. Friend is so provocative. However, he has just said that there must be a gradation and that one must consider whether a balance can be struck. My hon. Friend answered his own question; I do not need to do it for him. He has given no credence to the positive efforts that have been made to provide a lagoon alternative. It is a unique example of promoters seeking to provide positive conservation. He must surely concede that during the discussions undertakings were given to protect wildlife. Therefore, the carry-over motion should be agreed to so that these matters can be debated fully on Report.

Mr. Davies


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Again, I must remind the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) that too many detailed arguments cannot be advanced on a carry-over motion. Of course he wishes to illustrate why he opposes the carry-over motion, but during the debate on a motion of this kind all the details cannot be gone through.

Mr. Davies

I accept that entirely, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I shall try to comply with your strictures. My hon. Friend made two points that are worthy of comment. I accept that there is an alternative. That was considered in Committee. I shall deal with the alternative later, since it is relevant to the carry-over motion.

As to the principle involved in designating SSSIs, of course I said that there must be a gradation. My view, however, is that if a site is accorded protection under British legislation it should be protected. The answer to the conundrum that my hon. Friend has posed is that all SSSIs should be protected from damaging operations.

Mr. Gareth Wardell (Gower)

In my constituency there is the wonderful bay of Broughton, where the Nature Conservancy Council has designated a site of special scientific interest. A local farmer is concerned about the rate at which land is being eroded by the sea. I know that my hon. Friend is a former geographer and a specialist in these matters. He is interested in wave-cut platforms and various other marine features. The farmer to whom I have referred is concerned that the sea is taking away his land at a remarkable rate, but the SSSI has been designated with a view to assisting the sea to erode the land even faster so that it will be possible to observe the glacial till that will become exposed. I am sure that my hon. Friend will agree that in certain circumstances, even when an SSSI has been designated, there may be a strong case for downgrading the designation. As I have said, I am aware of his expertise in these matters.

Mr. Davies


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sure that in responding to the intervention of the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Wardell) the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) will stay within the rules of order.

Mr. Davies

My hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Mr. Wardell) has raised a fascinating topic for consideration, and it is one of which I am aware. The answer is not to allow development that will destroy the SSSI. If my hon. Friend feels that the area to which he has referred should not have been so designated, there must be case for the removal of the protected status. If that is removed, the development will take place. No one has attempted to argue, however, that the Cardiff bay site should not be designated. Everyone recognises that the site is of immense importance, but there are still those who wish to destroy it. That is the nub of the argument, and that is why Broughton is different from Cardiff.

When these matters were discussed on Second Reading—obviously we cannot repeat the Second Reading debate this evening—the director general of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was quoted. You will be pleased to know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the quote summarises the argument. By using the director's words rather than my own, I am sure that I can deal with the issue more quickly.

The director said: Cardiff Bay is one of Wales' most prestigious natural assets, holding between 5–8,000 birds each winter, including dunlin, redshank, shelduck, teal and knot. Many of these birds travel thousands of miles from as far away as Iceland, Greenland and Siberia to winter on Cardiff's ice-free bay. The birds depend on this bay for their survival. We have an international responsibility to protect it."—[Official Report, 19 December 1989; Vol. 164, c. 305.] I do not know who the chairman of the development corporation thinks he is when he sets himself up to be a greater expert on these matters than the director general of the RSPB, who has made it clear that the development is unacceptable.

We must recognise the importance of the site and prevent the acceptance of the carry-over motion at this juncture. If we defeat the motion, the House will be making a statement that it is committed to conservation.

The importance of the site was recognised by the South Glamorgan county council. My hon. Friend the Member for Gower has said that in 1979 the county council, in the preparation of its structure plan, which was subsequently approved, recognised the site as a conservation area. That was its future design for the bay. There was no objection to the classification and no attempt to remove it, until someone had the idea of constructing a barrage.

When I referred to the petitioners' objections, my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth invited me to refer the promoters' literature. The letter that he sent asking us to support the motion—I am sure that he will not mind my referring to it, because it is an open letter—says: The Bill has the support of the Wales TUC and many individual organisations and trade unions in Wales and the locality. While there are still some opponents, it is clear that the Barrage will benefit Cardiff and South Wales substantially more than other schemes. Not only are there still some opponents, but their number has been growing. He should have said, "It is true that there are more opponents than there were", but instead he said there are still some opponents". He also said,

It is clear that the barrage will benefit Cardiff. I urge my hon. Friend to think again, because that has not been proved. He is arguing that we should destroy a priceless asset for an unquantifiable benefit. He does not appear to realise that, which is a source of some distress to me.

The letter continues: There is to be an innovative new feeding ground for the displaced wading birds while the new cleaner environment will attract birds which have not hitherto been seen in the neighbourhood. He argues that as a benefit of the development and attempts to persuade us to vote for the carry-over motion on that basis. The lake was the subject of detailed consideration in Committee. The new birds that my hon. Friend refers to were the subject of a question put by the promoters to their own witness. They said, "What will these birds be?". They will be swans perhaps, mallard perhaps and a few seagulls perhaps. In conservation terms, the provision of an area of open water to facilitate swans and mallard does not constitute much compensation for the loss of an internationally important feeding ground for thousands of endangered waders.

Mr. Michael

I invite my hon. Friend to read the evidence that has been provided, including the published document commissioned by the development corporation from the Wildfowl Trust—obviously it would be inappropriate to deal with that in this debate—which deals in extenso with the matter. He is trying to denigrate an important development for an inner-city area of great dereliction.

Mr. Davies

My hon. Friend should not make such accusations. I have the evidence given by Dr. John Goss Custard from the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, who was the expert witness called by the promoters. On day eight—it appears on page 24 of the evidence—he was asked by the promoters: As an ornithologist could you perhaps just indicate which sort of wildfowl are likely to be attracted to the impounded waters? A. I should think, given the numbers of people that are likely to be in the vicinity, rather common ones such as mute swans and mallards and birds of that kind. That would be my guess. That is the evidence of the promoters. I leave my hon. Friend to reply to that point if he feels it appropriate.

The people who oppose the motion include all the conservation bodies that have considered the evidence submitted to the Committee. I do not want unnecessarily to delay the House, but I have the detailed questioning—

Mr. Morgan

There is another hour to go.

Mr. Davies

There is certainly another hour. My hon. Friend is trying to encourage me, but we must not unnecessarily delay the House. I shall not go into the detail of that argument, and you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will be grateful for that.

I wish to reply briefly to some of the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West, who has been encouraging me to turn my attention to him. He has been involved in the debate. On Second Reading, we had a difference of opinion about the conservation value of the site and what would happen to the birds. I asked the RSPB whether it would write to my hon. Friend, and I know that it did so, because I have a copy of the letter. I hope that my hon. Friend will not mind my reading it. The RSPB wrote: The fate of estuarine birds displaced is complex and not fully researched. Experts advising both Promoters and Petitioners against the Bill agree that a large proportion of those displaced by a barrage would not be able to 'fit in' elsewhere, or would displace other birds in turn. The availability of suitable habitat is finite; areas of international importance such as the Severn estuary, of which the Taff/Ely is a part, are to be treasured accordingly. Loss of an important part would cause an overall nett loss in the world population of species affected. The Promoters accept that some loss will have to be compensated for, by introducing a measure in the Bill to create an artificially engineered mudflat system at the Wentloog Levels… As to the 'adaptability' of nature"— I hope that this point will persuade my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West that we should stop the passage of the Bill— we believe that nature does not adapt, rather that some bird species take advantage of conditions artificially created by man which mimic (accidentally or by design) natural conditions. An example is the crow". My hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West is aware of the argument. The RSPB's view is clear. In a briefing submitted to us, it said: What will happen to the birds? If the barrage is built and the bay flooded, the wading birds displaced will have to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Birds such as knot, dunlin and redshank will attempt to find fresh feeding grounds and many will fail. They will find that the size of the larder available in the Severn—indeed in all other estuaries within flying range—is limited. In most years, all the best alternative feeding areas are full up with other birds. Many will be excluded from feeding in these areas by competition from other birds, and will die of starvation. Some will successfully displace other birds from their feeding grounds. Those birds in turn will die. This phenomenon will not take place instantaneously, so no spectacular heap of birds will accumulate. Over a short period of time, birds will disperse elsewhere—some may travel well away from Cardiff in search of food. They will die in ones and twos, many crawling into a secluded place to expire. Imagine the public outcry if honourable members sanctioned the mass destruction of 5,000 birds by, say, shooting or poison. There would be a heap of bodies for the popular press to feast upon. There would be a scandal of major proportions. Elected representatives, be they councillors or members of this House, would not get re-elected because of the outcry. What is being proposed in this Bill by South Glamorgan County Council and the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, aided and abetted by the Welsh Office, will have the same effect on birds as buckshot or poison.

Mr. Gary Waller (Keighley)

The hon. Gentleman wholly misrepresents the balance of the evidence given to the Committee. I do not believe that even those people who appeared on behalf of those who objected to the Bill suggested a scenario along those lines. How many of the books published by the RSPB or any other body concerned with birds suggest that Cardiff bay is a location to which those interested in seeing birds should go?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. If the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) is going to comment on that intervention, I am sure that he will relate his remarks to the carry-over motion.

Mr. Davies

I do not particularly want to get involved in that matter. I assure the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller) that I shall write to him, giving a full answer.

Mr. Morgan

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Davies

Having suggested that it would be inappropriate for me to reply to the intervention of the hon. Member for Keighley, I am sure that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would rule that it was similarly inappropriate for me to give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West—at least if he wants to develop the same argument.

Mr. Morgan

I wanted to point out what was wrong with the argument.

Mr. Davies

I hope that my hon. Friend will be making an intervention—albeit perhaps a brief one—later in the debate.

My final point concerns the promoters' case as outlined in the glossy book that they have handed out. They refer to "the living environment", and say that considerable improvements will result from the development. There is a lovely photograph of high tide in the bay, but there is precious little substance to the text, which reads:

An exciting new development in practical conservation will be the new 55 acre feeding ground for overwintering birds at Wentloog some 3.5 miles east of the bay. This will be partial compensation for the loss of the mudflats to be covered by the lake. The Severn Estuary has 39,000 more acres of … designated inter-tidal area, including the River Rhymney, which the Corporation will protect and enhance as a particularly important feeding ground. The promoters appear to be making two points. First, they are implying that, because there are a further 39,000 acres, it is all right to destroy those affected by the Bill. I reject that argument. If they can destroy one part of the bay, they can come back next year and say, "There are still 39,000 acres; let us have another 1,000." Who will we be to stop them if we have not said no at this stage?

Secondly, the promoters claim that an exciting new development in practical conservation is to take place. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth has invited us to consider that in deciding whether we should allow the Bill to proceed. Less than 1 acre is being provided for every 10 acres being destroyed. I do not think that that is a particularly good bargain. I do not regard it as an exciting new development in practical conservation to destroy 500 acres of protected wildlife habitat and to provide 50 acres as compensation.

Even if one accepts, as I do, incidentally, that the development corporation is trying to offer compensation—perhaps it realises the damage that it is wreaking and feels that it must do something—one must accept that what is being proposed is not very satisfactory. The site will be an area scooped out of the shore of the Severn. There will be no natural drainage, so it will be impossible to recreate the habitats that are to be destroyed. We are not talking about an area that will be flooded once or twice a day, enriching the bed that provides the invertebrate food that attracts the birds; there will not be any. The promoters will not be creating the environment that has been lost.

Moreover—and this is worse—the site is adjacent to a large refuse tip, which presents two further problems. First, there will be a considerable amount of leaching out of the refuse tip and that will pollute the lagoon. Even if we assume that that will not happen—although why we should assume that, I do not know—we know for sure that thousands and thousands of gulls feed on that tip. Those gulls will prevent the lagoon from becoming a refuge for the secretive, sensitive wading birds for which it has been provided. As the gulls feed, they fly up and roost on the water. If dunlin and redshank were attracted, they would certainly be driven off by the gulls.

Mr. Gareth Wardell

Perhaps my hon. Friend can help me over the management of gulls on waste disposal sites. Are not there ways of preventing gulls from reaching the sites, including the use of falcons?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I hope that the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) will help me by referring rather more closely to the carry-over motion.

Mr. Davies

I hope that the development corporation will not get the idea that falcons will help them to attract wading birds. I am sure that they would get rid of gulls but I am afraid that the redshank, the dunlin and the knot would go with them. They are not usually very happy to be overflown by sparrowhawks and goshawks, which are the predators that prey on most birds, although peregrines might do the job as well.

Let us get back to the point. We will have a scoop taken out of the shore, which is supposed to be attractive to those birds, next to a refuse tip that has thousands of gulls and where leaching comes into the water. In addition, many high-voltage electricity cables pass overhead. I do not know whether the development corporation is proposing to relocate them, but one can imagine the carnage that could be created. I am sure that while the redshanks are still in Cardiff my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth will have taken the opportunity to have a look at them and that he will have noticed their formations as they take off into flight. High-voltage overhead cables will not do their formation dancing much good. That is another problem, and another reason why I do not think that the barrage is a good idea. We should not accept it.

In addition, the barrage is an experiment. Why on earth should we be prepared to accept the destruction of something that we know is good and valuable for something which is unquantified and unproven? The new lagoon will have to be maintained—at what cost and for how long we do not know. Presumably, the public will have to pay in the short term. We do not know what is going to happen, but we do know that the conditions that are necessary to provide feeding opportunities for waders will be destroyed in that maintenance process. One cannot bring in bulldozers and dredgers to dredge the mud—although it will have to be done to prevent the site silting up—and still maintain the area as a quiet, peaceful, settled refuge for wildlife. When my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth says that an alternative is being provided, we must stop for a moment and look at what is being presented.

There are many arguments. I do not think that the development corporation has understood the deep-rooted objections of environmentalists or the problems associated with groundwater in Cardiff. I know that that matter concerns my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West and that he will seek to comment on it in a moment or two. In addition, local people are concerned about their local circumstances—about their homes, livelihoods and immediate environment. In conjunction with them, hundreds of thousands of other people are concerned at the destruction of the environment which belongs to us. Those two views represent an overwhelming coalition opposed to the barrage. That overwhelming case is why I oppose the barrage and why I hope that the carry-over motion will not be carried and that we shall put a stop to this sorry saga once and for all.

10.52 pm
Mr. Ted Rowlands (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)

I rise to make the case against the carry-over motion because, like my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies), as I oppose the Bill, I must therefore oppose the carry-over motion.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) made an eloquent and moving speech which we shall take fully into account. He referred to a most distinguished member of the city council, Councillor John Reynolds. John Reynolds and I fought as candidates for the nomination for the Cardiff, North seat in 1966. I was successful and entered the House a couple of weeks later. Such was the quality of Councillor John Reynolds then—as it remained throughout his life—that, despite the vivid disappointment of that occasion, he never gave less than unstinting support; in every sense, he backed me throughout my time as the hon. Member for Cardiff, North while he continued as a Cardiff councillor. Like my hon. Friend, I wish to pay him that tribute.

A distinguished socialist once said that socialism is the language of priorities. If it is, we must oppose this Bill on public expenditure grounds. I first raised this matter in the debate on the carry-over motion on 14 November last year. I was never called to order during my speech, because the financial consequences of Bills for public expenditure are fundamental to the nature of parliamentary accountability. My case this evening is that, in the context of the Welsh Office budget and the needs of the Principality, I and many other Welsh Members oppose the level of expenditure that the Bill—and, it seems, Welsh Office Ministers and the Chancellor—would endorse.

I make no apology for raising this issue again. It has been my role in debates on this Bill to discuss its implications for public expenditure. We must establish what have been, what are and what will be the public expenditure consequences of the Bill before deciding whether to carry it over.

I am sorry to chide my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth, as I did in the debate in November last year and on Second Reading. He made an eloquent speech about the character of the Bill and its impact on his part of the city, but, as a major supporter of the Bill, he never said a single word about its public expenditure consequences. That might not be his function here, but it is certainly the function of the Minister. On the two previous occasions when this Bill was debated, the Minister confined himself to some rather modest and peripheral remarks, but tonight we hope for a rather deeper analysis from him of the implications for Welsh Office expenditure.

Mr. Michael

I am sure that my hon. Friend will not chide me for welcoming investment in my constituency which will bring benefit to my constituents in terms of the local economy and jobs. I am sure he would do the same if investment came to his constituency.

I mentioned earlier the background information with which I have supplied my hon. Friends, although that is more a matter for discussion on Report.

Mr. Rowlands

Of course I do not chide my hon. Friend for his efforts on behalf of his constituents. But the Bill that he brings to the House has enormous implications for Welsh public expenditure. Huge amounts of public expenditure should not be discussed on Report. They are to do with mainstream, fundamental parliamentary accountability and they should be discussed root and branch in a debate on whether to allow the Bill to carry over. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth and I have had this exchange once before, but I maintain that this is not a matter for Report stage. This is a fundamental matter; if the Bill is not carried over it goes back to the start. My arguments are not about Report but about the very nature of the Bill and its public expenditure consequences.

I hope that I am not being too presumptuous when I say that I have taken a lead in expressing a concern that is shared by other hon. Members in that I have drawn to the attention of hon. Members the public expenditure aspects of the Bill. I shall attempt to identify the public expenditure related to the Bill. The front of the Bill shows two figures. Paragraph 3 states: The expenditure on construction of the proposed works is estimated at £82,230,000. The expenditure on the acquisition of lands and easements for the works is estimated at £2,550,000. I shall return to those figures.

It is strange that exactly the same amounts were shown in the original Bill. I understand the procedural problems involved in amending a financial memorandum. Are those two amounts still valid? Have they been updated? We should bear in mind that they are only one aspect of the financial consequences of the Bill. I hope that the Minister will give us that information. That is not the responsibility of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth. It is the responsibility of the Minister, because I assume that the financial memorandum must be endorsed by the Treasury.

Mr. Morgan

The truth, if the Minister were willing to state it, is that the face of the Bill should show that expenditure will be whatever it costs eventually to build the barrage. The amount does not matter to the Welsh Office so long as it saves the face of the last Secretary of State for Wales but one.

Mr. Rowlands

I am trying to be as objective as possible. Let us examine the matter stage by stage and figure by figure. I should not go as far as my hon. Friend, although there is some substantiation for his point in Hansard. In the debate on 19 December last year, the figures given did not even remotely represent the total public expenditure consequences of carrying out the scheme. On that date, the Minister said that £31.5 million would be available this year. He said: over the next three years, Government funding would total £100 million, bringing the total amount given, or announced, to date to some £150 million."—[Official Report, 19 December 1989; Vol. 164, c. 308.] Over and above the financial memorandum on the face of the original Bill, there was a straightforward admission that there was a formal commitment. It was not prospective but committed money to the tune of £150 million over three years.

Mr. Michael

I should like to clarify a constituency point that I am sure my hon. Friend will understand. As my hon. Friend rightly says, the Minister must answer for the Welsh Office. In the financial requirements, things that will happen anyway have to be counted in and included on the face of the Bill. For example, roads have to be included because that is how definition of these matters goes. The provision of alternative sites for wading birds, water quality and dredging are also included, as are matters such as sewer diversification and modification, which will cost £13.8 million. All these projects will go ahead anyway, but the requirements of the legislative process are such that they have to be included in the figures used in the Bill, although they are essential for bringing new life to this derelict part of south Cardiff, with which my hon. Friend is familiar. I am sure that he will accept that we should be looking at those aspects that are dependent on the barrage, which is the subject of the Bill before us, rather than at other aspects which, by accident of legal requirement, have to be included in it, or at the other work of the development corporation that is not dependent on the Bill.

Mr. Rowlands

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that information. We have had this discussion on previous occasions, and I understand that included in the broad total is expenditure that would be necessary anyway, and that it would be best to identify the two. Let us identify the two, and then we can unravel the figures, and let us not say that the total cost of the barrage is anything like that given in the Bill.

I shall first develop my point, although I am happy to give way to my hon. Friend at each and every stage because I am in the process of being educated, as I hope that I shall educate my hon. Friend. We also need educating by the Minister.

One of the most amazing things ever said by the Minister came in the debate last December. Having announced that £150 million would be allocated, he then said something that I would love him to say about the valleys initiative, or about any other project that any hon. Member representing a Welsh constituency advocated. He said: Beyond that, we will ensure that sufficient funding will be made available to enable the corporation to carry through its task."—[Official Report, 19 December 1989; Vol. 164, c. 308.] That simple statement means that the Cardiff Bay development corporation will be given by the Welsh Office whatever funds it requires to finish its task.

I wish that this or any previous Secretary of State had made such a staterhent about the needs of Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, so that if the costs of a project there escalate, or the whole thing goes awry, or the financial assumptions behind it are wrong—as the barrage scheme is heavily involved in property, the environment now and the future environment lead to some doubts about the financial forecasts of the scheme—the Welsh Office will fund the task of the corporation. That is an enormous commitment, and its open-ended character must be of concern to any hon. Member representing a Welsh constituency, because we are fighting for the same money.

We have all been in this game long enough to know that Chancellors are right when they say that there is not a bottomless pit, that there are priorities in, and competing demands for, public expenditure. We all have to make difficult and often odious choices. As a Member representing a traditional community, I have every reason to say that we would love to be told, "Beyond that, we will ensure that sufficient funding will be made available to enable Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney to carry through its tasks." I should love to have such a commitment from Welsh Office Ministers. Because it has been given once, we are concerned that it might be given again—but it all has to come from one budget. We spend that budget in a gentlemanly and comradely fashion, having competed for it in our different ways. It is a matter of great concern and I shall not support the motion.

Even if I considered that statement to have been an aberration, or simply that it required qualification, I should wish us to consider the current public expenditure commitment compared with the commitment when we last discussed the issue. I first raised the question of expenditure on various items during our debate on a carry-over motion on 14 November last. I suspect that the original cost of about £82 million was to cover the capital infrastructure costs of the barrage. What is the figure now?

Mr. Michael

I wish to help my hon. Friend, so that we do not spend too much time on questions that can easily be answered. The £8.27 million includes the barrage structure, the locks, the refuge harbour, the fish passes and the sluices—and roads and services. That is my point: it includes elements that would be required anyway.

Mr. Rowlands

That is a compendium of elements. I was given a document today. I have not had time to go through it, and no doubt my hon. Friend can educate me as we proceed. The document is entitled, "Cardiff bay barrage—planning update and economic appraisal statement." I am sure that the Minister has it to hand. It is dated 5 January 1990. It is a revised review of the public expenditure consequences.

From appendix 1, table 2, it appears that the barrage infrastructure cost—not including roads or all the other elements mentioned by my hon. Friend—total £125.5 million. That is not £82 million. Is that correct?

Mr. Michael

The figure does not include the other elements.

Mr. Rowlands

It does not?

Mr. Michael


Mr. Rowlands

Below that figure comes a whole host of industrial costs such as demolition and clearance, service diversions and so on. I totted up those figures and they came to £148 million—that is, additional to the £125.5 million. I shall come to the bottom figure in a moment.

On improved access, the review shows that the PDR-Butetown link plus other road schemes, car parking and a light rapid transport system will cost £152 million. We all agree that the PDR-Butetown link is essential, and it is currently on the books at £95.9 million. What was the figure when we last debated the issue? There has been a substantial increase.

Mr. Morgan

When the Cardiff Bay development corporation was established, the estimated cost of the PDR-Butetown link was £50 million, but its outturn cost is now estimated to be £126 million. The Minister is shaking his head. Perhaps he wishes to correct me. I was supplied with that figure by the department within the county council that will have the responsibility of commissioning the building of the road.

The additional £76 million has been caused entirely by the CBDC asking the county council, in 1987, not to proceed but to wait until there had been various design changes. That additional £76 million must be loaded on to the costs of the interference of the CBDC. That would not have happened if the CBDC had not been established to build the barrage.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Rowlands) is dealing with the finances in considerable detail. I hope that he will link it to the carry-over motion.

Mr. Rowlands

I most certainly will. When I come to the bottom figure even your jaw might drop, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If we carry the motion over, we will endorse a public expenditure consequence of the Bill even greater than that which we were asked to endorse at the end of last year. I am seeking information on the limits and extremities of the Bill so that I may come to a conclusion on it, although my objections to it are pretty fundamental anyway.

According to the revised document, the barrage infrastructure cost is £125 million; industrial relocations, demolition and land reclamation I crudely totted up at about £148 million; improved access and the road schemes, £152 million; environmental improvements such as landscaping, water features, and so on, £96 million; and other projects, £25 million. The sum total of that list is £547.29 million.

When we debated the matter on 19 December, the Minister admitted: The total cost to the development corporation is estimated…to be some £402 million."—[Official Report, 19 December; Vol. 164, c. 309.] Is the £402 million equivalent to the present figure of £547 million? If not, what should be deducted from the £547 million? That figure of £402 million, not the £82 million on the face of the Bill, is the total public expenditure Welsh Office consequence of the Bill.

Mr. Michael


Mr. Rowlands

It is. My hon. Friend is getting het up. We can deduct from that the Butetown link and the rest, but we are now talking about more than £400 million gross. Am I reading the appendices correctly when I say that the £402 million figure is now £547 million?

Mr. Michael

I simply make the point that my hon. Friend is including figures that have nothing to do with the Bill even under the definition which draws in things such as the roads, because the development is in south Cardiff, as well as the elements which are on the face of the Bill, many of which, as I explained earlier, would have to take place anyway. There is an element of confusion, although I accept entirely that my hon. Friend is an earnest seeker after truth in these matters.

Mr. Rowlands

I am an earnest seeker after truth. The £547 million figures comes from the "Cardiff bay barrage—planning update and economic appraisal statement", not from Cardiff or South Glamorgan. Therefore, any hon. Member would have to conclude that the £547 million relates to the barrage and its financial consequences. It is not every bit of expenditure in South Glamorgan or in the city of Cardiff; it is related, in one form or another, to the cost of the Cardiff bay barrage and its consequences. Half that amount would probably be essential in another development.

I am not arguing about that. I am simply saying that, whereas at the end of last year we had a figure of a little more than £400 million, we now have a figure of about £547 million. To save time, will the Minister say whether the previous figure of £402 million equates with the present figure of £547 million? Are they comparable figures or is there anything substantially different in them? Well, I hope that the Minister will allow us to intervene on his speech so that that point can be cleared up.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

It seems to me that, if the carry-over motion were approved tonight, that approval would in a sense endorse all the financial confusion. If my hon. Friend is saying that all this financial information must be clarified before we proceed any further with the Bill, that, surely, is a strong argument for opposing the motion.

Mr. Rowlands

My hon. Friend has made very forcefully a point that I made in regard to the last carry-over motion—and we lost that vote, although I do not think that we lost the argument.

I feel that, given the public expenditure consequences of private Bills of this size—especially when they involve Welsh Office collusion to such an extent, and an open-ended cheque book too—we have a right to argue our case. Although I am a passionate supporter of public expenditure, I also accept that it is all about priorities: the money must come from somewhere, and in this instance it will come from other budgets which are of vital concern to other parts of the Principality.

One of my fundamental criticisms of private Bill procedure is that, when—after a Committee has spent weeks considering the issues—one of us asks a simple question about the likely cost, as any hon. Member might do on the Floor of the House, the most that we get is some vague statement. I quoted a marvellous one on 14 November, which said that the cost might be between £75 million and £125 million. That is the order of the evidence given by—on that occasion—the chairman of the Cardiff Bay development corporation.

Even those of us who, like me, are passionate supporters of public expenditure are supposed to be vigilant in that regard. I really do not feel that we can pass the motion without much more clarification than has so far been provided—and, in any event, the public expenditure consequences of the Bill are bound to be enormous.

Expanding on the third point that I raised, I accept that I am treading on less firm ground: here I must deal with city expenditure. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) can speak about Cardiff much more effectively than I can; I have been speaking about the needs and budgetary priorities of Wales as a whole. My hon. Friend is right to fight for his patch, but I am fighting with equal vigour to ensure that his fight does not cause an unwelcome ripple effect in communities such as mine.

This scheme is, in effect, an enormous plan to build houses—very high-class ones, in many instances—that is, in the main, supposedly led by private enterprise. I do not think it improper of me to ask how it can be described as a private-enterprise-led scheme when it will require about £550 million of public money—and not in the form of a loan or a guarantee, but in the form of public grant from the Welsh Office budget. We are encountering some curious semantics when huge slugs of public money are described as "private enterprise".

Following the pre-empting of significant amounts of Welsh Office money, the benefit to the city council will be non-existent. It is for the electors to decide whether they wish to carry the burden. However, I feel that I should point out that, after all that public money has been invested, the result will be an operational loss per annum.

Earlier, my hon. Friend told me that I had got my figures wrong. I accepted that, and went away with my tail between my legs. Originally, I was told that the figure was only £400,000 per annum, and that it was modest by comparison with the cost of running Cardiff's parks, and so on. How sanguine should we be in the light of the revised economic appraisal? As at January, the net operating costs are now said to be not £400,000 but £1.3 million. Am I interpreting table 3 in appendix I correctly? It seems to me that it relates to the same figures that were the subject of our earlier argument, when my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth sought to educate me.

The forecast revenue has increased from £470 million to only £480 million, but the costs have risen to £1.8 million, and the net operating costs—which I suppose to mean the net annual operating deficit—are now set at £1.35 million.

Mr. Michael

My hon. Friend is placing a fair interpretation on the figures. The corporation will bear the cost during its lifetime, and the successor body—which we assume will be the local authority—will not have to burden the community charge, or the successor to it that I hope will be in place by then, because the corporation's assets will then be available. The intention is to create sufficient revenue to fund the cost. That is why I made the comparison with the £3 million needed for Cardiff's parks. I assure my hon. Friend that aspect has been carefully considered by my colleagues on Cardiff city council.

Mr. Rowlands

My hon. Friend offers a different argument from that which he produced when we last debated the matter, when he told me that the annual cost would be a mere £400,000. At least he is now admitting that, in the course of just nine months, that figure has increased to £1.3 million. I am glad to have that valid comparison made clear.

My hon. Friend says that after the corporation is wound up its assets will be handed over to the successor body and will produce sufficient revenue to cover the operating costs. Those assets will have been created from the enormous grant made by the Welsh Office, and we must assume that, at the end of it all, there will be a substantial potential profit. I ask the Minister, as I have before, whether the Welsh Office will be able to claw back any portion of the £400 million originally mentioned, or the £550 million now suggested, that it is to make available?

If some of the profits are to return to the Welsh Office, at least a proportion of them could be recycled to the benefit of Merthr Tydfil and Rhymney and other parts of the Principality. Can the Minister say whether any part of the Welsh Office's £550 million commitment to the development corporation will be returned not to the city's coffers—because it is not local but Welsh money, provided by taxpayers nationally—but to the Welsh Office?

I have previously begged the Minister to answer that fundamental question, and I hope that he will do so on this occasion. In terms of public expenditure, besides all the environmental arguments, I cannot support a carry-over motion for the Bill when the public expenditure consequences will not merely have such great significance for parts of Cardiff, but could be to the considerable detriment and loss of the rest of the Principality, and to the communities which I represent.

11.29 pm
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Ian Grist)

I join the hon. Members for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) and for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Rowlands) in paying tribute to the work of councillors who serve on the corporation in Cardiff, and especially the late Councillor John Reynolds, who was a political opponent. I remember him standing for Cardiff, North. He was a thoroughly principled man, and a true friend of Cardiff.

It may be helpful if I give the House a brief indication of the Government's position on the Bill and the amendments made by the Committee. The House will know from previous debates that the Government have a substantial interest in the objectives of the Bill.

We have carefully considered the detailed and wide-ranging evidence on all aspects of a barrage across the estuaries of the Taff and Ely, and concluded that the economic case is very strong, even taking into account the environmental considerations. The Government believe therefore that the construction of a barrage and the substantial economic, recreational and other benefits arising from it are the key to the redevelopment of the Cardiff bay area. This imaginative and high-quality redevelopment will transform not just our capital city, but the wider economy of south Wales and the image of Wales as a whole. I am glad to say that this view was not seriously challenged by the majority of the Committee.

We are pleased that the Committee, having considered all the evidence, has recommended that the Bill should be allowed to proceed subject to a number of amendments and undertakings, mainly relating to groundwater. It is right that the Committee should reflect the genuine concerns expressed during its lengthy and detailed examination of the evidence and, for our part, the Government would not wish to differ from their recommendations.

As this is the first opportunity to debate the Bill since it emerged from Committee, the House may also find it helpful if I say briefly how my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State proposes to fulfil the undertakings that he gave to the Committee in respect of his consideration of further work on groundwater.

My right hon. Friend has appointed Mr. Roy Stoner, director of the Institute of Irrigation Studies at Southampton university, as an independent expert to assist him in fulfilling the undertaking. Mr. Stoner is an eminent specialist in groundwater and related matters and has considerable personal experience on such projects world-wide. His appointment should command the support of all parties.

Mr. Morgan

Would the Minister spell that name please?

Mr. Grist

S-T-O-N-E-R, as it is pronounced.

The independent adviser's first task will be to confirm, by the end of this month, whether the terms of reference for the further studies by Hydrotechnica are adequate.

Once the report on the further groundwater studies and the development corporation's response have been submitted to the Secretary of State, there will be a three-month period during which written representations on the contents of those documents may be made to the Secretary of State by interested parties. The independent adviser will then advise my right hon. Friend on whether the terms of reference have been met, on the soundness of the assumptions, working methods and conclusions, on written representations and the adequacy of information on the various criteria. I expect my right hon. Friend to be able to announce his decision on public funding and the final position of the protected property line, taking into account all of these factors, early in 1992.

Mr. Morgan

Can the Minister say whether the Dr. Stoner to whom he refers has any familiarity with Cardiff? The reason why I ask is that there has been a wide separation in the professional advice received as between geologists, engineers and other experts who are from or work in Cardiff, virtually all of whom are against the barrage, as they think it unsafe, and those experts who have been commissioned but have no familiarity with the area in question, all of whom turn out to be in favour of the barrage. Will the Minister reflect on that and say whether Dr. Stoner has any working familiarity with the groundwater particularities of Cardiff?

Mr. Grist

To be perfectly frank, I cannot answer the hon. Gentleman. If he has any grounds for doubting the technical competence and the expertise of Mr. Stoner I am sure that he will let us know. I do not believe, however, that the hon. Gentleman will find that that is so. Mr. Stoner is a world-wide expert on these matters.

As the House is aware, the Government have already made available, or announced, very significant levels of funding for the corporation—more than £150 million to date. If my right hon. Friend is satisfied that the economic, technical and safety criteria in respect of the further work on groundwater have been met, we intend to honour our long-standing commitment that the cost of the barrage will be met by the development corporation, with the assistance of grant-in-aid from the Welsh Office.

I must point out to the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Rowlands) that the most recent economic appraisal of the barrage strategy estimates its overall public sector costs to be £335 million at mid-1989–90 prices. The two main elements of the strategy are the construction of the barrage itself and the construction of the Butetown link section of the PDR.

The Government have already made plain their commitment to provide funding for the barrage through grant-in-aid, subject now to the satisfactory completion of further work on groundwater, to which I referred earlier. The corporation will also be generating income from the disposal of assets and will be drawing in money from the private sector, all of which will go towards the funding of its barrage strategy.

The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney should not have overlooked in his peroration the fact that the valleys programme has led to the expenditure of some £500 million in threé years. I do not think that he expects the Welsh Office to receive a refund of that money. That is part of the investment in the future wellbeing of Wales, and that is precisely what the barrage strategy is also designed to achieve.

Mr. Rowlands

The hon. Gentleman is racing through his figures. He referred to the figure of £335 million. Is he saying that the figure of £402 million that he gave to us in December is now £335 million? Are we comparing like with like?

Mr. Grist

I think that the hon. Gentleman will agree that that is a fairly gratifying drop in the amount of public sector money, due to the introduction of private sector finance. He ought to welcome the injection of finance by the development corporation if he is so mindful of public finance.

Mr. Rowlands

Table 2 in the appendix to the economic appraisal published in January quoted a gross figure of £547 million. What proportion of that figure is Welsh Office funded?

Mr. Grist

I think that the hon. Gentleman is looking at an outturn figure. The outturn figure for the barrage is estimated at £147.7 million.

Mr. Rowlands

The document entitled "Cardiff bay barrage—planning update and economic appraisal statement" dated 15 January 1990 gives, in table 2 of appendix 1, a summary of individual project investments. The barrage figure is £125 million. The rest comes to a grand total of £547 million. What proportion of the £547 million will be Welsh Office funded?

Mr. Grist

The hon. Gentleman cites a figure that I do not have before me. I have given him the figures that I have, which relate to the motion before the House. We estimate that the barrage strategy itself, at 1989 prices, will be £335 million. There would clearly be funding from many other sources. The leverage with a barrage is twice that which would be available without it. That is a measure of the importance of the barrage for the regeneration of south Cardiff and the area around Cardiff.

Therefore, I believe that the Bill as amended in Committee, where it was given detailed examination, should be allowed to proceed so that it can be further considered. As the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) said, these matters could then be thrashed out in much greater detail.

11.40 pm
Mr. Win Griffiths (Bridgend)

In opposing the carry-over motion, I shall refer at a little length to the document provided for us by the Cardiff Bay development corporation and the South Glamorgan county council, which we found in yesterday's post. It is part of the preparation for the debate. In a well-presented folder there are set out the arguments why we should be prepared to support the motion and allow the debate to continue on the Bill. Unfortunately, from the point of view of the promoters, having read the brochure produced by the development corporation and the county council, I have not been persuaded to change my view about the need for a barrage to be constructed to ensure a successful development of the Cardiff bay area.

The debate on the need for a carry-over motion to enable us further to consider the Bill is closely related to the type of development which needs to take place in Cardiff, and I am still of the view that there can be successful redevelopment of the bay area without the barrage being built. I remain convinced, therefore, that I should oppose the carry-over motion.

I shall refer briefly to the cogent arguments advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Rowlands) on the public expenditure considerations of the barrage. Perhaps I should remind him that it was that incomparable popular singer, Shirley Bassey, who made a great name for herself with a song, among others, entitled "Hey Big Spender". Shirley Bassey comes from Tiger bay, which is part of the area that will be the beneficiary of all the public expenditure. It is—[interruption.] I hear from sounds off that Shirley Bassey came from Splott. That may be the precise area from which she came, but everyone in the world associates her with Tiger bay first, second and third. We are entering into some procedural, academic and semantic niceties by referring to Splott, but it will benefit from the redevelopment of the south Cardiff area.

Mr. Flynn

I do not wish to bring about a feeling of deja vu by repeating my previous performances when considering the Bill—other hon. Members have not shown the same restraint—but to suggest that Splott and Tiger bay are really one and the same place is an affront. It is as dangerous as saying that Upper Cwmtwrch and Lower Cwmtwrch are one and the same place. Shirley Bassey hails from the splendid Portmanmoor road, and she would be greatly insulted if it were suggested that she came from Tiger bay, which is a different part of Cardiff altogether.

Mr. Griffiths

I should hate to go into all the arguments. I am sure that you will agree, Madam Deputy Speaker, that according to popular mythology, which is important, Shirley Bassey hails from Tiger bay.

As a student at Cardiff university I lived in Habershon street, which is not far from Portmanmoor road, and can therefore attest to the need to redevelop the area. However, the question is whether the barrage is essential to the prosperous and successful redevelopment of Cardiff. I believe that it is not essential.

Some of the arguments advanced in the brochure, ignoring the economic case, given even more reason to oppose the motion. Once again, my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney did us a good service in revealing much of the associated cost of the development and mentioned a figure of about £500 million. The Minister, who for the time being at least has an interest in Cardiff as he is the hon. Member for Cardiff, Central, said that the figure is now about £335 million. Even if we accept that figure, it is much more than the £125.55 million quoted in the brochure, which attempts to outline the reasons why the barrage should be allowed.

Mr. Grist

The hon. Gentleman is probably muddling the figure of £335 million with the figure of £ 125.55 million for the barrage. The figure of £335 million includes the PDR expenditure.

Mr. Griffiths

I am grateful to the Minister for pointing that out, but the barrage is the contentious part of the total scheme for the redevelopment of south Cardiff. We doubt whether all the additional expenditure will be worthwhile for the Welsh economy. No doubt there will be spin offs for the economy of south Wales in the redevelopment of south Cardiff, but we are saying that the money provided for the barrage could be better spent in other parts of south Wales.

I want to draw the House's attention to two pages in the brochure, one entitled "Prevention of Flooding" and the other "Bay Water Quality". The section on prevention of flooding states: There will be a lower risk of flooding in Cardiff when the Barrage is built. Good. The Barrage will keep out the very high tides, and at high tide the Barrage will provide adequate storage for river flood waters until low tide allows the sluices to be opened and the water drained off. Good. Co-operation between the Development Corporation and all public bodies concerned with flood prevention is built into the Bill. Good. As the flood protection authority (the National Rivers Authority) says, 'the Barrage will not reduce the level of protection provided by existing flood defences and may create a worthwhile improvement.' Good.

If we accept the word of the National Rivers Authority, the building of the barrage will help prevent flooding in south Cardiff. I certainly hope that that will be so, and it is good that that hope is buttressed by the authority and scientific knowledge of the National Rivers Authority.

Mr. Morgan

That view is totally contradicted by the Cardiff Bay development corporation's consultants, Wallace Evans and Partners. In their May 1988 report, they wrote: The results demonstrate that draining down the impounded bay before the arrival of a peak flood does not produce any real benefit for the high discharge event. This is because the bulk of the flood volume around the peak is far greater than the storage volume being made available.

Mr. Griffiths

I thank my hon. Friend for pointing that out. I was aware of the dispute about the evidence, but at least we had the authoritative statement by the National Rivers Authority that the barrage would be helpful in preventing flooding.

Mr. Michael

The NRA's authoritative statement is useful, but the evidence to the Committee and elsewhere shows that this is not a matter of dispute. It has been investigated and cleared out of the way, and hon. Members can have full confidence about it.

Mr. Griffiths

Once again, I thank my hon. Friend for trying to enlighten me. I accept that a dispute still exists, but for the sake of my argument I am happy to accept the NRA's statement about the prevention of flooding.

The page entitled "Bay Water Quality" states: The new freshwater lake will be fed by the Taff and Ely rivers and water will flow out through the Barrage. While not tidal, a continuous management programme will see to the removal of debris and algae that may accumulate on the shores and on the surface of the lake. Good. Special equipment will keep the lake water oxygenated when river flows are very low. Today, salmon breed again in the Taff river after many years absence, a sure sign of improving water quality. Good. Diversion of 14 main sewers will remove a major source of pollution. Standards set by the National Rivers Authority and effective control of industrial pollution will further improve the quality of water in the lake and thus make possible a greater range of water-related activities in the future. Good. A management company, fully accountable to the Development Corporation, will manage the Barrage and the Bay and water quality in the lake. It will be funded from income generated by a property portfolio and without recourse to local authority funds. Good.

Let us look at some of those statements. The NRA is directly quoted to substantiate the argument that the barrage will help to prevent flooding, but although reference is made to the NRA on the subject of water quality, there is no positive statement from that independent organisation that building the barrage will result in a satisfactory water environment. I believe that the NRA has ruled out the possibility of water contact sports because of the dangers for people who may fall into the water when participating in them.

Mr. Michael

Perhaps I can help my hon. Friend by saying that that applies to many other inland waters, both natural and artificial. A case in point is Roth park lake, which is greatly valued even though the water quality is not marvellous. I invite my hon. Friend to consider the water in Bute east dock, which comes from the same source as will the water behind the barrage and which is already greatly appreciated by the general public in Cardiff.

Mr. Griffiths

My hon. Friend wants to put up the best case that he can for the barrage and the lake, but, as I understand it, the water behind the barrage will be completely different in nature from that which is now held in the docks. The building of the barrage will change the whole water regime in the Cardiff bay area. That is why there is such a big difference and one cannot compare what happens in Cardiff docks at present with the state of play that will pertain after the barrage is built. I find it most disturbing that, on the issue of bay water quality, the promoters did not see fit to get the National Rivers Authority to make a positive statement about the safety of the water and the freedom from pollution and other possible dangers that could be attendant on the management of the water behind the barrage.

My other major concern about the management of the quality of the water behind the barrage would not arise so much at times of low water. One can have water oxygenation equipment and we know that, in many parts of the world, it represents an extremely successful way of keeping the water healthy for the forms of life to be found in it. But I foresee a major difficulty arising at times when the river Taff is in spate. It is all very well to talk about the diversion of 14 main sewers but that is nothing like the number of sewers that pour into the Taff and Ely rivers at times of severe flooding, which happens very frequently in Wales during the winter months. We are famous for our rainfall. The rivers Taff and Ely readily flood, and the fact that the bay water quality leaflet makes no real mention of how to deal with water quality problems when the rivers are in flood is a major obstacle to our accepting the carry-over motion.

There is one further reason why I remain firmly convinced that we should not accept the carry-over motion—it has to do with the groundwater issue. The Minister referred to that and said that amendments had been made in Committee. He explained that further studies would be made in the light of which the Welsh Office would make a decision. Unfortunately, the end result of those studies could still be controversy. I do not think that it would be fair to place such a burden of responsibility on any Minister at the Welsh Office, especially given the high degree of commitment that the Welsh Office has to the barrage and to the present proposals for the development of Cardiff bay.

If we consider the groundwater issue, as outlined in this leaflet, which is designed to convince us that the correct thing to do would be to go along with the carry-over motion, we learn: The water impounded by the Barrage will raise the groundwater level in south and central Cardiff, which the Promoters have always recognised could affect some basements. As I understand it, it took a lot of persuasion to get them to that position. Nevertheless, finally and because of the weight of the argument, they were persuaded to take account of this issue. In the beginning, however, the promoters tended to dismiss such arguments and only after seeing the weight of the evidence did they begin to accept that they would have to do something about the matter.

The leaflet also states: Independent experts commissioned by the Promoters say that this will not cause structural damage"— hooray— cellars may become damp or at worst wet—but groundwater experts say that most properties will be unaffected. There is a nice diagram to illustrate that point, but it does not convince me.

We are then told:

Under the Bill there will be a comprehensive protection system for residents. The Bay management must survey properties within an agreed 'Protected Property Line' and undertake remedial action at no cost to occupiers. The protection will last for 20 years from the time of remedial work. The Development Corporation will initiate the general surveys and there will be a detailed code of practice to safeguard householders' rights. Surveys will be undertaken over a wide area and will ensure that no property is without protection. It is estimated that only about 1,600 properties may require work and residents will have free access to an independent Complaints Administrator. Residents outside the 'Protected Property Line' will also be fully safeguarded by the provisions of the Bill. But why are they not dealt with in the same way as those within the protected property line?

We are then told—this might be looked on as a comfort to sustain the argument for the carry-over—that More computer modelling work on groundwater aspects is already underway to cover points of concern in the Petitioners' evidence. This will be reported to the Secretary of State and will be taken into account in his decision. Yes, but that is the crux of the whole way in which the Cardiff bay barrage and the Bill intended to enable it to go ahead have been examined. We are running before we can walk. We are putting the cart before the horse.

Mr. Flynn

My hon. Friend must accept that the last time we discussed this matter he was one of the few who showed a detailed knowledge of the environmental reports that had been made. My hon. Friend is not doing himself justice tonight by quoting a weak summary of the argument when he knows that a great deal of respectable scientific work has been carried out. The collection of headings and generalisations to which he refers are untrue.

Mr. Griffiths

I am conscious, Madam Deputy Speaker, that we do not want to detain the House—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

What I am conscious of is that we are dealing with a carry-over motion to which I hope the hon. Gentleman will refer from time to time and that he will not get carried away with the general argument.

Mr. Griffiths

I have been trying to keep that at the forefront of my mind, Madam Deputy Speaker, all evening.

Madam Deputy Speaker

You could have fooled me.

Mr. Griffiths

The trouble is that interventions often cause me to go down the wrong track.

If I can be allowed to carry on with what I want to say, my answer to the very important point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, East (Mr. Flynn) is that I do not dispute the fact that a number of studies have been carried out—some are still being carried out—on the groundwater aspects of the building of the Cardiff bay barrage. I contend that it is inappropriate for us to be discussing the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill and the carry-over motion that will enable the Bill to continue on its course through the House while the studies are incomplete.

The most important point of all is that the people who could be affected by the rising groundwater should know the results of all the surveys before we give the Bill further consideration. We can have differences of opinion about the importance or otherwise of the sites of special scientific interest, but we cannot have a difference of opinion about the fact that the barrage should not go ahead until all the studies are completed and available for our inspection. We should not allow the studies to go on and then let the Welsh Office decide once they are completed. That would place the Welsh Office in an invidious position. It has already made it clear this evening that it fully supports the barrage. If there is still contention about the effects of the groundwater after the studies are completed, it would be wrong to let the Welsh Office decide. That is why I hope that the House will reject the carry-over motion.

12.6 am

Mr. Gwilym Jones (Cardiff, North)

As you have said, Madam Deputy Speaker, the hon. Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) went into detailed arguments about different parts of the Bill. Like the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Rowlands), he discussed the economic case. Indeed, the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney concentrated upon it entirely. I believe that both hon. Gentlemen made the case for the motion.

Within the narrow confines of what we can properly debate on this motion we cannot resolve these detailed economic matters or some of the other points that have been mentioned. The logical outcome of passing the motion would be to allow the Bill to go forward to Report stage, when all these points can be properly dealt with, all the detail can be examined and, I hope, when all hon. Members can be satisfied, at least as far as that is possible. These matters should be discussed on Report, not in a debate on this motion.

I shall try to remain within the limits of the motion and not be called to order. I want to respond briefly to the lengthy contribution made by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies). I shall not discuss the minor part of his speech dealing with the environment, because I have a healthy appreciation of his concern for environmental matters; but the major part of his speech was about the backing for the Bill. He went so far as to misrepresent the fact that seldom has there been a Bill that enjoys such overwhelming support in South Glamorgan.

Four of the five Members who represent South Glamorgan strongly support the barrage Bill. Many councillors in the Cardiff city, South Glamorgan and Vale of Glamorgan councils support the Bill. More than 80 per cent. of councillors in the area support it—a good demonstration of the support among the tiers of elected representatives in the area.

Support for the Bill is not confined to one political party. The Labour party controls South Glamorgan council, the Conservatives control the Vale of Glamorgan council and Cardiff city council is a hung council. Both major parties in Cardiff strongly support the Bill.

Mr. Morgan

I think that the hon. Gentleman may be misleading the House. If he means that Labour councillors support the project he may well be right, but he is not right if he means that the Labour party supports the project. Four of the five general management committees of the Labour party are against the barrage. [Interruption.] I am not sure what my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael), who is sitting behind me, is trying to say. In the last 12 months those general management committees in South Glamorgan have voted against the barrage by majorities of 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 and 5:1.

Mr. Jones

I hope that I am not misleading the House. I cannot speak well about Labour party management committees, but the sotto voce comment from behind the hon. Gentleman suggested that he might well have been misleading the House. In every respect it must be true to say that all elected representatives from the major parties are in favour. Perhaps the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North (Mr. Howells) would like to contribute to the debate because I understand that the minor party, the Liberal party, on Cardiff city council and in South Glamorgan is very much in favour of the Bill. I urge the House to support the motion.

I appreciate the built-in frustration of debating a private Bill. That has been well covered. However, for the moment it is the only way for us to consider the matter and it has resulted in long and exhaustive consideration. In its way such a Bill is no different from other Bills. Earlier, we debated the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Bill and a great raft of mainly Government amendments went through in a short time. It is naive for anyone to expect a Bill to emerge unchanged at the end of the parliamentary process. Such a Bill would be a minor one. Bills are made better by amendments.

Mr. Win Griffiths

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Jones

I hope to be brief but I had better give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Griffiths

I would not expect the Bill to remain unamended. One of my major points was that such a contentious issue as groundwater should be settled before the Bill is debated. That is my objection to the motion.

Mr. Jones

How can we make progress without accepting the motion? The matters that worry the hon. Gentleman can be moved forward and debated at another stage.

The Bill has been improved by the consideration that it has already had. The fact that we are discussing an exceptional measure fully justifies the basic principle of a carry-over motion. The Bill is exceptional because of what it will achieve. It will lead to the redevelopment of south Cardiff and new jobs and homes and will be a tremendous boost to our economy and to the capital city of Wales. Of course, that is already happening, because Cardiff is talked about far and wide. However, the benefits from the Bill will extend to a wider area. It would be a tragedy if the motion were defeated and the Bill were lost.

There has already been a substantial investment in the Bill of time, money and activity. Many people, such as hon. Members, the two councils, the development corporation and others have made that investment. It has not been mentioned so I shall put on record our thanks to the four members of the Select Committee who spent 26 or 27 painstaking days going through the Bill. They were my hon. Friends the Member for Cornwall, South-East (Mr. Hicks), and for Keighley (Mr. Waller) and the hon. Members for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood) and for Doncaster, North (Mr. Welsh). We owe all of them a debt of gratitude.

That Committee was quite innovative. I think that it was the first time that a Committee has taken evidence outside the House on the matter. Certainly, it must have been the first time that a Committee took evidence in song on it. It would be a tragedy if all that hard work and exceptional consideration were lost. Not least, it would be tragic in view of all that has been done to resolve the reasonable doubts in south Wales. Contrary to what was said by the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan) my impression of south Wales is that opposition to the Bill is fast receding. From what I read of the front-page headlines in South Gamorgan, opposition in the Labour party there is receding. The greatest attempts are being made to resolve all the legitimate concerns. All along, those who have wanted to promote this scheme have appreciated the concerns, and all involved have been doing all that they can to help those who are worried that they might be disadvantaged by what happens if the Bill is passed.

I noticed recently that the city council gave money to the Cardiff flood action committee, not because it agreed with the position that the committee had taken but in the spirit of trying to help those who are worried by the Bill. That same spirit has been shown by everyone, particularly the officials of the two councils and the development corporation.

If we were to carry on with the detailed arguments, we should not achieve the real purpose of the motion. The only way to resolve the detailed arguments is to agree to the motion so that we can have further debates. Not to resolve it in that way would be the greatest tragedy for south Wales.

12.17 am
Mr. Rhodri Morgan (Cardiff, West)

I wholeheartedly agree with the comments made by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) and others about the sad passing away of Councillor John Reynolds, who was the Labour leader on Cardiff city council and who served as a member of the board of the Cardiff Bay development corporation. The very first job that I ever had was as a tutor-organiser with the south Wales district of the Workers Educational Association. I was told that my job was to go out and find more John Reynolds. He had been a booking clerk, and he went on to make a major contribution first to education and then to the public service, serving on the city council for several decades. For the two years that I was with the WEA, I tried to find more such people, before handing my job on to others who are far better known in public life and politics.

I ask the House to sink this barrage before it sinks half my consituency.

Mr. Flynn

That is a wild exaggeration.

Mr. Morgan

I feared that there might be a sedentary comment from the back row in response to that, although I am not sure what the definition of wild exaggeration might be. Anybody who thinks that that is a wild exaggeration should turn to the evidence presented to the Select Committee on this point. Earlier, we had the presence of the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller), but there are no members of the Committee present now, so I had better read the evidence of a witness expert in groundwater computer modelling, which is a way to predict what would happen after a barrage was built. This is relevant to whether we should agree to the carry-over motion.

The House will have to allow for the elision in the banter between the witness and the Chairman in these questions and answers. The Chairman asked: Thousands of people will suffer from groundwater problems if the model is wrong? Dr. Miles, the witness, said: Yes, and rather than enhancing Cardiff, it would turn it into a laughing stock; this is the city that turned itself into a swamp—how would that look in the papers? Later, the Chairman asked: 'Urban swamp' was your own phrase. I tried to rhyme 'Miles' with 'urban swamp'"— this is the banter— and I failed to come up with something, I must confess! Dr. Miles, having done the donkey work necessary to make an accurate prediction, within the best parameters, using the best technology in computer modelling and accurate field work when collecting the data that goes into the computer model, predicted that the barrage would present a serious danger of turning the low-lying areas of Cardiff into an urban swamp. That is the risk that I am being asked to take on behalf of my constituents.

I take the matter seriously because we are being asked to pass a carry-over motion even though the studies are not yet complete. It is obvious from the debate that this is a unique motion. We are being asked to approve, on behalf of our constituents, a pig-in-a-poke.

The technical studies were demanded by a majority of the Select Committee. One member wanted to throw it out, but the other three agreed that, procedurally, the Bill should come this far, even though they did not think that it was proper for the barrage to be built. From what the Minister said earlier, we will not know the results of the studies for another 18 months. We are being asked to continue the life of the Bill even though that is irrelevant because the actual decision will be made not by Parliament, with most unusually restricted rights for petitioners and objectors, but by the Secretary of State for Wales after he has had written representations and has consulted his new expert from the centre for irrigation studies at Southampton university.

As far as I am aware, never before have we been asked to approve a Bill that is subject to the Secretary of State having the last word. It is like the Select Committee saying that it did not really think it safe to proceed with the barrage, but it did not want to kill the Bill. We are being told, "Bear with us, take it all on trust and the Secretary of State will play a fair-minded, neutral, quasi-judicial planning role when he makes up his mind in 18 months."

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

Is my hon. Friend aware that next year could be election year? If so, the carry-over motion means that we will be discussing the Bill in election year. What happens in an election year? The Government start Bills but do not finish them. The Prime Minister will be deciding the date of the election, she will be looking for that window of opportunity, she will be fiddling every set of statistics that she can, she will not know whether she is coming or going, the ERM will go sour, and in the middle of all that someone will say to her, "Do you know, Prime Minister, that we have not yet finished the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill?" What is she likely to say in the middle of all that? It will be, "Stuff the Bill", or something like that. She will not come here in her carpet slippers at 10 or 12 o'clock at night to vote for the Bill. She will have other fish to fry.

I am hoping to speak in the debate about the electoral consequences of the Bill. In some circumstances, they could be helpful to the Labour party. I am looking at it from both angles. Has my hon. Friend examined it from a wider political view?

Mr. Morgan

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who has given us yet further proof that he is not thinking of crossing the Floor.

It is quite likely that there will have been an election before the results of the further inquiries are known, yet we are being asked to pass a carry-over motion tonight.

We must consider the alternatives if the motion is refused. The promoters of the barrage could return when they have finished their studies. They could then say that they have used the best technology available and the best computer modelling experts, and then give their prediction for the level of groundwater in the affected low-lying areas of the three constituencies concerned. We will then know the price of the barrage; tonight, we are being asked to buy a pig-in-a-poke.

The groundwater issue is of concern to my constituency. Obviously, it also affects the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth. The barrage will be in his constituency, but water does not respect parliamentary boundaries. On the other side of the River Taff, it will also affect the highly marginal constituency of the hon. Member for Cardiff, Central (Mr. Grist). In terms of residential areas, my constituency will be most affected. Roughly 40 per cent. of them fall within my constituency, 35 per cent. within the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth and 20 per cent. within Cardiff, Central, the Under-Secretary of State's constituency. The barrage will have an effect in those areas.

If the mouths of the Taff and the Ely are impounded, the resulting lake may be in my hon. Friend's constituency, but two fingers of it will extend into my constituency and that of the Minister. But the water under the surface, residentially speaking, affects my constituency more than any other, so I am very concerned about it.

Mr. Skinner

Residentially speaking?

Mr. Morgan

I do not know whether my hon. Friend remembers his days underground.

Mr. Skinner


Mr. Morgan

He would have been extremely conscious of water under the ground. Water beneath one's house is as important as water flooding a coal mine. I do not want my constituents to live in the equivalent of a flooded coal mine.

Since about 7.30 this evening I have been in a position to present some new evidence to the House on that very issue. It is pretty sensational because it cuts completely across the assurances given in the wonderful pop-up birthday card sent to all Members of Parliament by Cardiff Bay development corporation, at great public expense, and about as factual as one.

The information that I want to give to the House is the result of the fieldwork carried out by—

MR. MICHAEL rose in his place, and claimed to move,

That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:

The House divided: Ayes 132, Noes 10.

Division No. 323] [12.26 am
Alexander, Richard Burt, Alistair
Amess, David Butcher, John
Arbuthnot, James Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Ashby, David Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda
Atkins, Robert Chapman, Sydney
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Chope, Christopher
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Baldry, Tony Conway, Derek
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Bevan, David Gilroy Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Boswell, Tim Currie, Mrs Edwina
Bottomley, Peter Curry, David
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Bowis, John Davis, David (Boothferry)
Burns, Simon Dixon, Don
Dorrell, Stephen Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Maude, Hon Francis
Dover, Den Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Durant, Tony Meale, Alan
Fallon, Michael Meyer, Sir Anthony
Fishburn, John Dudley Michael, Alun
Flynn, Paul Miller, Sir Hal
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Forth, Eric Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Foster, Derek Murphy, Paul
Freeman, Roger Needham, Richard
Garel-Jones, Tristan Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Glyn, Dr Sir Alan Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Goodlad, Alastair Oppenheim, Phillip
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Paice, James
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Grist, Ian Parry, Robert
Ground, Patrick Patnick, Irvine
Hague, William Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom) Portillo, Michael
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Redwood, John
Harris, David Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Haynes, Frank Roberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy)
Heathcoat-Amory, David Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Hind, Kenneth Ryder, Richard
Howard, Rt Hon Michael Sackville, Hon Tom
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Howells, Geraint Shaw, David (Dover)
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Jack, Michael Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Jackson, Robert Skeet, Sir Trevor
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Key, Robert Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Sumberg, David
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Kirkhope, Timothy Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Tredinnick, David
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Trippier, David
Lang, Ian Waddington, Rt Hon David
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Waller, Gary
Lightbown, David Wareing, Robert N.
Lilley, Peter Wheeler, Sir John
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Widdecombe, Ann
McFall, John Wood, Timothy
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Yeo, Tim
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Maclean, David
Malins, Humfrey Tellers for the Ayes:
Mans, Keith Mr. Gwilym Jones and
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Mr. Ray Powell.
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Pike, Peter L.
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Skinner, Dennis
Corbyn, Jeremy Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Cryer, Bob
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Tellers for the Noes:
Morgan, Rhodri Mr. Ted Rowlands and
Nellist, Dave Mr. Win Griffiths.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question put accordingly—

The House divided: Ayes 132, Noes 10.

Division No. 324] [at 12.40 am
Alexander, Richard Bottomley, Peter
Amess, David Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Arbuthnot, James Bowis, John
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Burns, Simon
Ashby, David Burt, Alistair
Atkins, Robert Butcher, John
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Baldry, Tony Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Chapman, Sydney
Bevan, David Gilroy Chope, Christopher
Boswell, Tim Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Malins, Humfrey
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Mans, Keith
Currie, Mrs Edwina Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Curry, David Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Maude, Hon Francis
Davis, David (Boothferry) Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Dixon, Don Meale, Alan
Dorrell, Stephen Meyer, Sir Anthony
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Michael, Alun
Dover, Den Miller, Sir Hal
Durant, Tony Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Fallon, Michael Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Fishburn, John Dudley Murphy, Paul
Flynn, Paul Needham, Richard
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Forth, Eric Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Foster, Derek Oppenheim, Phillip
Freeman, Roger Paice, James
Garel-Jones, Tristan Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Glyn, Dr Sir Alan Parry, Robert
Goodlad, Alastair Patnick, Irvine
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Portillo, Michael
Grist, Ian Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Ground, Patrick Redwood, John
Hague, William Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom) Roberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy)
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Harris, David Ryder, Richard
Haynes, Frank Sackville, Hon Tom
Heathcoat-Amory, David Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Hind, Kenneth Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Howard, Rt Hon Michael Shaw, David (Dover)
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Howells, Geraint Skeet, Sir Trevor
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Jack, Michael Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Jackson, Robert Sumberg, David
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Key, Robert Taylor, John M (Solihull)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Tredinnick, David
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Waddington, Rt Hon David
Kirkhope, Timothy Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Waller, Gary
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Lang, Ian Wareing, Robert N.
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Wheeler, Sir John
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Widdecombe, Ann
Lightbown, David Wood, Timothy
Lilley, Peter Yeo, Tim
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Young, Sir George (Acton)
McFall, John
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Tellers for the Ayes:
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Mr. Gwilym Jones, and
Maclean, David Mr. Derek Conway.
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Pike, Peter L.
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Skinner, Dennis
Corbyn, Jeremy Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Cryer, Bob
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Tellers for the Noes:
Morgan, Rhodri Mr. Ted Rowlands and
Nellist, Dave Mr. Win Griffiths.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Ordered, That the Promoters of the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill [Lords] shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office of their intention to suspend further proceedings not later than the day before the close of the present Session and that all Fees due on the Bill up to that date be paid;

Ordered, That, if the Bill is brought from the Lords in the next Session, the Agents for the Bill shall deposit in the Private Bill Office a declaration signed by them, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill which was brought from the Lords in the present Session;

Ordered, That as soon as a certificate by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office, that such a declaration has been so deposited, has been laid upon the Table of the House, the Bill shall be read the first and second time and committed (and shall be recorded in the Journal of this House as having been so read and committed) and shall be committed to the Chairman of Ways and Means, who shall make such Amendments thereto as have been made by the Committee in the present Session, and shall report the Bill as amended in the House forthwith, and the Bill, so amended, shall be ordered to lie upon the Table;

Ordered, That no further Fees shall be charged in respect of any proceedings on the Bill in respect of which Fees have already been incurred during the present Session;

Ordered, That these Orders be Standing Orders of the House.

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