HC Deb 24 July 1974 vol 877 cc485-6W
Mr. Gourlay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements are being made for consultation between the oil and fishing industries in order to promote better understanding of their respective interests.

Mr. William Ross

The Government have agreed with representatives of the offshore oil and fishing industries to set up a new consultative group representing these industries and Government Departments with the following terms of referenceTo exchange information on general matters concerning the fishing and oil industries, to discuss broad principles and to keep under review developments in connection with the exploitation of offshore oil and gas resources with the object of fostering close relations between the two industries so that each may carry out its operations with minimum interference to the other. To examine in sub-committee particular technical problems.

The consultative group, whose first meeting will be held shortly in Aberdeen, is intended to regularise and focus discussions between the two industries on all aspects of their inter-relationship, though bipartite discussions between particular oil companies and fishing interests will continue.

Representations will be drawn from the Scottish fishing federations and the British Trawlers' Federation and from the United Kingdom Offshore Operators' Association. Government Departments concerned will normally include the Scottish Economic Planning Department, the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Others concerned will be kept in touch and may attend if their interests are affected.

The Government are concerned to do all possible to foster close relations between the two industries and are well aware of the need for close co-operation and mutual respect and consideration if the problems arising from this relationship are to be solved. It is our hope that the establishment of the consultative group represents a real step forward in this direction.