At my request, Sir Dudley Stamp's Committee has agreed to study certain aspects of the comparative evaluation of land uses. It would be premature for me in advance of its advice to go into detail, but the Committee is at present considering the application of cost/benefit analysis to such factors as amenity.
Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that this phrase about the techniques of comparative evaluation of land usage is open to a large variety of interpretations, and can he give some idea of the interpretation he himself puts on it, bearing in mind that the country will be interested to know exactly what this is all about?
I think that the best way to give a definition is by way of illustration, which I have done. Let me say at once that I am sure that the hon. Gentleman appreciates the importance of this sort of work being done. If he has any proposals or suggestions to make, I shall be very happy to discuss them with him.
May I press the right hon. Gentleman a little further in that respect? He talks about cost analysis in relation to amenity. Again, it is not immediately obvious how one goes about it and what we do with the answer when we get it. Will the Minister give us a little more information?
Several Questions have been answered about barrages. One has to consider not only the use of a barrage, but the effect it has on the environment. This is the sort of question to bear in mind. One also has to think of the way in which to evaluate this. Other countries have made considerable use of this sort of technique. It is appalling that this country has been so far behind in this respect.
In reference to his last reply, will the right hon. Gentleman say why he is not taking into account the effect on agricultural land in the first study of the Morecambe barrage scheme?
Because the first study is a feasibility study to see whether it is feasible for the conservation of water. Until this is determined we cannot go on to consider the other questions.