Skip to main content

Nature Conservancy (Research Station, Wales)

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 16 May 1961

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what was the total cost of the Nature Conservancy's new headquarters building and research station in Wales; and if he is satisfied that work done there does not duplicate similar research by other Government Departments.

The final cost, including purchase of the site and the office and scientific equipment, is not expected to exceed £47,500. I am satisfied that there is no duplication of research work by other Government establishments.

Is my hon. Friend aware that at the opening of this white elephant one of the most distinguished scientists said that it was primarily concerned with grassland research? Is the Minister entirely satisfied that adequate grassland research is not already done at Aberystwyth, and by the Hill Farming Research Station?

Yes. I am so satisfied. This station is studying such things as the influence of variations of rainfall and geology in Snowdonia upon the vegetation and productivity of the land, mainly at altitudes in excess of 1,200 ft. The Grassland Research Station is concerned in scientific research concerned with the economic utilisation of lowland grassland, and the Welsh Plant Breeding Station deals primarily with the breeding of grasses, clovers and some cereals. The Conservancy's Research Station is not concerned with any of those subjects.

Will the Minister resist any attempt on the part of his back benchers to persuade him not to carry out this important scientific research? He mentioned what this body is doing. We accept that the research carried out at Aberystwyth is first-class, but we must have still more research. Will he send the Labour Party's pamphlet on science to his hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Kimball) so that he can be educated?

I must not deprive the hon. Member of the joy of sending his pamphlet to whom he will. I will consider the point raised in the supplementary question. As for the other point, it is never a bad thing for hon. Members behind the Government to be careful of the expenditure of public money.