§ Mr. Gwynoro Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what arrangements he intends making so that he can be fully advised on those aspects of Celtic Sea 647W oil and gas developments which come within his field of responsibility; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. John Morris
Advice on these matters is already available to me from within my own office and from other Departments. I have, however, decided to extend this range of advice by establishing an advisory committee which will meet from time to time under my own chairmanship to review those aspects of Celtic Sea oil and gas development of particular interest to Wales and to advise on significant issues within my own field of executive and oversight responsibilities. Other Ministers will be associated with the work of the committee as necessary.
The committee will be small with about eight members in all. I have it in mind 648W that it should include representation of the oil industry, other industry in Wales, trade unions, local government, amenity, conservation and environmental interests, the universities and the Welsh Council.
I have also decided to establish a committee of officials under the direction of the Welsh Planning Board to co-ordinate departmental interests and to maintain close liaison with the local authorities, other statutory and public bodies with an interest and the various regional offices in the South-West of England.
As the House is aware, no discoveries of oil or gas have yet been made in the United Kingdom sector of the Celtic Sea. The arrangements I have described should meet the present advisory and consultative needs, but I shall keep them under close review in the light of developments.