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Natural Resources

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 16 May 1961

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science if he has yet received a report from the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy on research into natural resources.

No, Sir. The Council is setting up a special committee to look into this matter.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that, if the nation is effectively to face its competitive struggle over the next decade, a knowledge of our natural resources is a priority? Will he undertake to expedite the research necessary for this information?

The hon. Gentleman will remember that in the recent A.C.S.P. Report the Council said that it was inviting its Biology and Allied Sciences Committee to consider the problem. It was because of the extent of the problem and the importance placed upon it by the Advisory Council that the Council has now decided that the appointment of a special committee to look into the problem is warranted.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary give us any information as to when the committee is likely to report? This is urgent, especially the problem of water conservation and land utilisation. Is not the Parliamentary Secretary aware that it may be necessary to create a separate research organisation to deal specifically with the problem? Will he consider this?

On the second part of the supplementary question, I assure the hon. Member that we have all thought very much about the desirability of setting up a Natural Resources Research Council, which was not as such mentioned in the Labour Party's pamphlet. I cannot possibly answer the question contained in the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question.