§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware of the serious erosion of the coast of Yorkshire north of Spurn Point, and that this erosion is of particular importance because of the comparative narrowness of the strip of land at this point between the North Sea and the estuary of the Humber; that in the opinion of competent persons a break-through of the sea at this point would affect the course of the River Humber with possibly serious effects on this navigable river; is he aware that a proposition has been laid before previous Governments for strengthening this part of the coast by reclaiming land from the sea between Spurn Point and the southern part of 244W Sunk Island; and whether he will have this matter fully considered both from the point of view of providing useful work and as a safeguard against sea encroachment?
The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, and I would remind the hon. and gallant Member that the local drainage authorities have received during the past two winters grants of over £9,000 in connection with the Ministry's unemployment relief schemes. The statement contained in the second part of the question is a matter of opinion, but the navigation interests on the River Humber are in the hands of a very competent navigation authority. In reply to the third part of the question, my right hon. Friend is aware that the hon. and gallant Member has been in communication with his predecessors with regard to reclamation being carried out on a large scale in the vicinity of Sunk Island, where a gradual process of reclamation has been going on for at least 300 years. The matter was the subject of an investigation on the spot both by engineers and soil experts, who came to the unanimous conclusion that the proposal was wholly impracticable. Instead of some 10,000 acres being available for reclamation as was stated to be the case, only some 250 acres of indifferent land were found to be "ripe" for the purpose. Incidentally I understand that no works can be carried out in the estuary of the Humber outside a line prescribed by the Humber Conservancy Acts without special legislation.