HL Deb 21 December 1982 vol 437 cc926-8

3 p.m.

Considered on report.

Then, Standing Order No. 43 having been suspended, (pursuant to Resolution of 16th December):

Lord Lyell

My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Billl be now read a third time.—(Lord Lyell.)

Lord Ross of Marnock

My Lords, before we give a Third Reading to this Bill, may we be told something about it? I have a very special reason for speaking now, and that is because I have a very sentimental attachment to the area. During the war I used to parade with my platoon of the HLI along this part, usually on the wildest of nights—and the darkest of nights, too. I want to know what is going to be done with this area that is so dear to my heart. I see that they are going to spend about £500,000. I am sure that the Secretary of State must know something about it. After all, he has given leave for this Bill to come forward.

Something else I have noticed is that, although it is going to cost £500,000, about one-third of that is for the cost of the land. It seems to me that the further north one gets in Scotland the dearer becomes the most useless piece of land. Perhaps we can be told something about this. It is not a very big piece of land. It is right on the foreshore, and skirts the foreshore. So far as I can see, all that is going to be done is that they are going to reconstruct an embankment here. I should be very grateful if the information that the Government have available could be unveiled to us.

Lord Lyell

My Lords, the noble Lord and, indeed, the House will be fascinated to hear that I, too, have an attachment to the Orkneys and Shetlands, since my great-grandfather was the Liberal Member of Parliament for that constituency for 15 years. I am sure that information is new to the noble Lord, Lord Ross. I agree with the noble Lord that the power to reclaim lands is set out in paragraph 5. Indeed, as the noble Lord will have noted, Part II of the schedule gives the trustees of the port and harbour of Lerwick powers which I am sure are familiar in such a case. It allows them to construct a stone embankment, which is set out in considerable detail in paragraph 4 of the schedule on pages 3 and 4.

The noble Lord will see that this is an estimated cost of £389,000 or so. This is preparatory to reclaiming land which is required to improve the port and the harbour at Lerwick. I am informed that the land reclamation work will be adjacent to the existing Shell oil base and will also have the purpose of relieving considerable congestion at the base. I hope that that will go the major part of the way to satisfying the thirst for knowledge of the noble Lord, Lord Ross. If there is any further detailed point on which I can help him, perhaps I may write to him.

Lord Ross of Marnock

My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, there is only one other point that I should like to ask. I should like to know whether or not he has had protests about this. After all, we are reclaiming land. This House is experiencing strange times, dealing with the Western Islands and the isles of Scotland. Lots of people are concerned. The concern is not so much about the crofters but about birds. If one is going to reclaim land, it is going to affect the habitats of many of the waders, which are dear to the hearts of many people in this House. Have there been any protests from people about this matter?

Lord Lyell

My Lords, I have a fairly detailed map of the port, harbour and town of Lerwick. I am not aware of any waders or wildlife which might have been affected in this particular area. Neither am I aware of any human protest which has not been considered and, if I may suggest, dealt with in the usual way. If I am wrong, and if there has been any protest, then perhaps I may ascertain the answer and write to the noble Lord.

On Question, Bill read a third time, and passed.