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Barry Buddon (Industrial Proposals)

Volume 958: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1978

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10.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations he has had and is currently undertaking regarding proposed industrial developments at the Barry Buddon site; and if he will make a statement.

My Department has had a number of discussions with ICI which is considering alternative sites in the United Kingdom for future industrial development. Consideration of Barry Buddon is still at an early stage and studies to establish its feasibility are still under way, but I understand that the development being considered by the company would be in general chemicals, possibly including petrochemicals. I have made it clear that any proposal for development would have to go through the normal planning procedures.

Is the Secretary of State aware that the secrecy surrounding the Barry Buddon project has caused a great deal of unnecessary alarm and anxiety locally? Will he guarantee that there will be the maximum possible public disclosure of information in future? If the project goes ahead, will he look at the possibility of supplying central Government funds to ensure that the necessary services and infrastructure are given to this project, and not place the full burden on the local authority?

All those matters would arise if a definite project were put forward, but that has not yet happened. I understand that this is one of a number of sites at which ICI is looking. Obviously, since the normal planning procedures will apply, none of these matters can be dealt with secretly. They must become matters of public discussion, and that will happen in this instance if ICI decides to come to Barry Buddon.

Rather than dissipate his energies considering this application for Barry Buddon, will my right hon. Friend expedite his decision on Moss Morran? It is nearly eight months since final approval for that project was given in principle by my right hon. Friend. Will he now indicate when his final approval can be expected, bearing in mind that the authorities in Fife are becoming a little annoyed at the pussy-footing which is going on in response to the vociferous objections to the scheme?

My hon. Friend has a later Question on Moss Morran. I am anxious to make a decision, and I shall as soon as I am in a position to do so. I think my hon. Friend knows that I cannot anticipate that decision, because, as I understand the technical term, I am acting in a quasi-judicial capacity in these planning matters.