HC Deb 23 October 1961 vol 646 cc32-3W
Mr. MacArthur

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when an inquiry will be held into the amenity objections to the Glen Nevis Hydro-Electric Scheme.

Mr. Maclay

At the time of my announcement of the appointment of the Mackenzie Committee it was intended that the economic and amenity issues raised by the Glen Nevis scheme should be dealt with concurrently but independently with a public inquiry into objections into the scheme being held While the Committee was still sitting. On this assumption I anticipated that when both reports were available it would be possible properly to judge the scheme with fairness to all concerned.

Subsequently, however, certain of the objectors represented that their views on amenity could not be developed fully before they had had an opportunity to study the conclusions of the Mackenzie Committee and, having regard to the underlying principles of the Franks Report, I have concluded that the inquiry must be deferred until the Mackenzie Committee Report is available.

I have discussed with the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board the implications of this decision on its generating programme and it has decided that the situation in 1965–66, the date by which the Nevis scheme might have come into full operation, could best be met by the bringing forward in its programme of a 120 MW oil-fired steam set at Dundee which it had planned to provide later. An application for my consent under Section 2 of the Electric Lighting Act, 1909 has been submitted to me.

So far as 1966–67 is concerned, it is essential that progress should be made now with the necessary preliminary work on other new schemes if the Board is to be in a position to meet its needs in that year by hydro-electric development. The Board proposes to proceed with this work and I have agreed that, if necessary, it should carry it to the stage of formal publication of its proposals for individual schemes. My agreement, however, is on the understanding that no order confirming a scheme will be presented to Parliament until the Mackenzie Committee Report is available; this, I understand, will be about the middle of next year.

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