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Dangerous Manufacturing Processes

Volume 887: debated on Monday 3 March 1975

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asked the Secretary for State for Wales what steps he has taken, following the Flixborough disaster, designed to avoid housing development in the vicinity of factories and other establishments engaged with processes which could prove dangerous; and if he will make a statement.

Welsh Office Circular 162/74, which was issued shortly after the Flixborough disaster, gave advice to local planning authorities on these problems.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the great concern about this in parts of my constituency, in Barry and at Sully, where I live? Without questioning him in detail about a recent case affecting Sully, may I ask for a general assurance that, in all decisions by the Secretary of State, this kind of consideration is borne in mind before any decision is made?

The hon. Gentleman refers to a case in his constituency. That decision was made after a public inquiry, at which the objectors made no reference to the presence of factories which might give rise to risks. However, we naturally take into account information received on this point.

Surely the Minister is aware that the presence of a number of possibly dangerous factories is a matter of general knowledge in the area. Is he now saying that no note was taken of this consideration when the decision was made?

When dealing with these planning inquiries, the Secretary of State can deal only with the matters before him and which were brought before the inquiry. At the inquiry, no objection was raised on the grounds to which the hon. Gentleman has referred.