asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to publish his decision on the results of the public inquiry into the Shell proposals for a petrochemical complex at Mossmoran in Fife.
I hope to announce my decision before the end of the year.
Is the Minister aware that that will be welcomed in the Cowdenbeath area? Will he take note that the majority of people there believe that the answer must be favourable? Does he realise that this is in strange contrast to the policy of the Scottish National Party which, at the outset, was against the proposal altogether?
I note what my hon. Friend says. The House will appreciate the difficulties that I have experienced in this matter. The report has now been received by me but I have not yet read it. I shall read it soon, together with the comments of my Department, and make a decision before commenting to the House. I must rest on that.
Is the Minister aware that depending on his decision in relation to Mossmoran is the matter of pipelines through Aberdeenshire, Angus, Perthshire and Fife? Does he realise that there is great concern in those areas, in which there are already three or four pipelines, and will he give an assurance that local views will be fully taken into account?
That is a different question, but I can give that assurance because I am aware that pipeline laying involves a certain amount of disruption, particularly to agricultural land, and we try to minimise it.
Will the Minister take note that, despite the proximity of oil resources to Scotland, there are few plans for petrochemical developments in Scotland, apart from the Mossmoran project and the Cromarty refinery? Will he steer such projects towards Scotland?
I certainly want to see more developments in Scotland and I hope that when we receive the report of the study company which has looked at the gas-gathering pipeline prospects we shall be able to take matters further forward.