After the passing of this Act, the Board may not supply electricity to any works or factory to be erected in the North of Scotland District unless the erection of the works or factory has been approved—
Brought up, and read the First time.
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."The purpose of this new Clause is to give the Minister control over the erection of factories which will be attracted to the Highlands area as the result of the supply of electricity that will be forthcoming under this scheme. The Minister has told us that he has control over any construction work that will be undertaken by the Board and he has given us an assurance that he will examine any such scheme that is brought before the House of Commons before a spadeful of earth is turned for the erection of any new factory. It is suggested that the Minister should take unto himself power not to allow the Board to supply electricity to any new factory until it has been approved by any town and country planning authority that may be created. We wish the Minister to take unto himself power to see that the amenities in this part of Scotland are not destroyed by new factories coming in, over which to-day he has no control.
The Government's attitude to the hon. Member's endeavour to stimulate planning in areas where planning resolutions have been adopted, is one of general welcome. During our next series of Sittings a Planning Bill will be considered for England and Wales and without arrogating to myself functions which should belong to the Leader of the House, I think I can say that immediately that Measure is well on the way to the Statute Book a Scottish Bill, applicable to Scottish conditions and Scottish law, will be introduced. I do not think there is any chance of any factories being erected before this Bill becomes law so that the purposes of the New Clause are unnecessary.
Will the Minister give us an assurance that the Town and Country Planning Bill which is to be introduced for Scotland will have control over these factories, because we have had such a Bill in England and Wales for the last 10 years and there has been little or no control? Will he give us an assurance that he will be able to stop undesirable factories from being erected in places where he does not want them to be erected?
That is a tall order to spring upon me now, and I would not care to give in advance any ideas of what powers such a Bill may give me.
You cannot put up an electric pole in my county without getting a plan passed.
My hon. Friend's county has adopted a planning resolution. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Maid-stone (Mr. Bossom) is dealing with areas in Scotland which have not adopted such resolutions. As the Committee is aware, up to now local authorities have only voluntarily adopted planning resolutions.
May we have an assurance that there will not be a gap between the time at which this Bill is passed and the time at which a Town and Country Planning Bill becomes applicable to Scotland, otherwise factories may get advance permission which it will be impossible to withdraw afterwards?
I think it would be a fair guess to say that there is no chance of any factory being erected in the North of Scotland prior to the introduction of such a Bill.
On the Minister's assurance that a Town and Country Planning Bill for Scotland will be brought in shortly after the passing of this Bill, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the proposed new Clause.
Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.