HC Deb 23 May 1978 vol 950 cc491-2W
Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what estimate he has as to the value and likely length of life of oil fields at Which Farm near Corfe Castle and the likely effects of development upon the neighbourhood; and if he will make a statement.

Dr. John Cunningham

On current evidence, production is likely to last for 15 to 20 years, but further evaluation of the discovery is necessary before estimates of its total value can be made. The planning permission given by the local planning authority for the development of the field imposes on British Gas, the operators, conditions designed to ensure that the development is undertaken in such a way as to have minimum physical and visual impact on the neighbourhood.

Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if, in view of the conflicting nature of the role of the British National Oil Corporation as both a commercial operation and principal adviser to the Secretary of State, he will bring forward legislation amending the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975 to resolve these difficulties.

Mr. Benn

The present arrangements present no difficulties; nor could they, since BNOC has no regulatory functions, and I regularly receive advice from many quarters on all aspects of energy policy.