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Hydro-Electric Schemes, Wales

Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1949

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asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning to what extent he has been consulted about proposals for large scale hydroelectric development in North Wales; and if he will make a statement.


asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning what stage has now been reached in considering the proposals for the North Wales hydro-electric schemes; whether full consideration has been given to their effect on the amenities of the proposed national park; and whether local public inquiries will be held before sanction is given to any of these schemes.

The British Electricity Authority have explained to repre- sentatives of my Department the proposals which they have in mind and I am at present examining them. The proposals would require statutory authority and before any decision is taken to proceed with them the local authorities and amenity societies concerned will, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power stated on 9th May, be fully consulted and he and I will carefully consider any representations which may be made. As the proposals will have to be submitted to Parliament in a Private Bill the question of public inquiry in the ordinary sense does not now arise.

While thanking the Minister for that statement, may I ask whether he will draw the attention of the British Electricity Authority and the nation to the fact that the beauty of Snowdon is a more permanent feature of our national life than the fuel shortage; and will he take every possible step to make sure that no unavoidable damage will be done to this very important centre of our community?

That is, of course, one of the obvious matters which will have to be taken into consideration.

In these circumstances, will whatever charge is payable in the way of development be paid to the Central Land Board by the British Electricity Authority?

Bearing in mind the assurance given me on 9th May by the Minister of Fuel and Power, that all local authorities and amenity societies will be fully consulted, would it not be desirable to call a conference in North Wales at the earliest possible opportunity of all these authorities and societies and representatives of the British Electricity Authority, so that the matter may be discussed round the conference table?

That may be one of the methods of consultation. I shall certainly consider it.

Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that alternative proposals, such as that for the utilisation of the Menai Straits for the production of electricity, will be taken into consideration before a decision is reached?

Will the Minister see that consideration is given to the possibility of transmitting electrical current by underground cable in these cases, so as to avoid any possible despoliation of the landscape by pylons, and so on?