Oil Pipelines

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Power – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Ashfield 12:00 am, 28th November 1960

asked the Minister of Power whether he has completed his examination of the general problem of pipeline development; and whether he will make a statement.

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

I have received comments from the organisations and bodies that have been consulted. These are being examined in the light of views expressed in Parliament. I am giving serious consideration to proposals for introducing now legislation, but I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Photo of Mr William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Ashfield

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that a new Private Bill is to be presented for a substantial extension of trunk lines and that other developments are contemplated by private interests? Is it not of the utmost importance, therefore, that as soon as possible we should have a co-ordinated national policy on the question of pipelines? Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us when he will be in a position to make a statement of policy and what his attitude is towards the Private Bill which has been presented?

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

I will certainly make a statement as early as I can. It will not be this year, but I hope that it will be fairly early next year. We are nearly at the end of November, so it is not very long away. As far as the Government's attitude to the new proposed Bill is concerned, I think it is impossible for the Government to give support to that Bill in the light of the recommendation of the Select Committee, and while we are also awaiting the results of the inquiry which I promised.

Mr. Lee:

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the laying of pipelines may well condition national policy in the industries concerned? Would not it be most unfortunate if the nationalised industries, having looked at their policies, were then forced in some way to alter them because of the positioning of the pipes?

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

These are all questions which we ought to consider before we come to a conclusion about future policy.

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

Will the right hon. Gentleman always bear in mind, if there is to be any extension of pipelines, that there is a very strong amenity aspect to be considered, and will he promise us that he will watch that himself carefully?

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

I will watch it very carefully indeed, but fortunately, as the hon. Gentleman knows, most of these pipes go underground and so they are at least hidden from view.

Photo of Mr William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Ashfield

asked the Minister of Power what information regarding Government-owned oil pipelines he make's available to private developers and users of pipelines.

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

My Department makes available to other pipeline developers or users any information they want about the Government-owned pipeline system, subject to certain security conditions.

Photo of Mr William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Ashfield

Yes, but it is fairly obvious that a large number of people—in fact, hundreds of people—must be made aware of the existence and routes of these Government-owned pipelines, and is it not really rather ridiculous at this time to suggest, as the right hon. Gentleman did in his Answer to a Written Question from me on Friday, that no public information could be given about routes of these pipelines? How can we possibly make an assessment of the needs for pipeline development in this country and of the proposals put forward by private developers unless we possess this information?

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

I sympathise with the hon. Member, and it is a little confusing, but the position is that the public do know the broad routes of these pipelines. Before closer and more detailed information is given, I think it is right that there should be certain inquiries and certain precautions taken to see that the particular detailed routes of each pipeline are not misused.