§ 10. Mr. Roy Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of the progress made in the feasibility study about the proposal to construct a second Severn crossing.
§ Mr. David Mitchell
The consultants are continuing their examination of the details of the various options for a second crossing in two corridors south of the existing crossing. They are determining optimum locations for a bridge, a driven tunnel and an immersed tube tunnel, and their links with the motorway network. They are also carrying out engineering, environmental, traffic and economic assessments. They have made good progress, and expect to complete their studies by the target date of August 1986.
§ Mr. Hughes
Will the Minister say whether he has any plans to authorise the building of a second Severn crossing with private capital? If so, by how much would the tolls be likely to increase, and for how long would they be operated?
§ Mr. Mitchell
No decision has yet been taken to build a second crossing, so the second point does not arise. However, if we proceed with a second crossing, we shall certainly consider the hon. Gentleman's point.
§ Mr. Mitchell
The barrage is a separate matter. Any decision about when and whether to build an additional crossing of the Severn will be taken in the light of studies which are being made of traffic forecasts, and of the necessity to strengthen the existing crossing.
§ Mr. Anderson
Is the Minister aware that if what independent forecasters tell us about likely congestion is correct, the decision will have to be made shortly after the date of publication of the report in the autumn? May I take it that the report will be made available to the House when it is published?
§ Mrs. Clwyd
In view of the continuing tailbacks on the Severn bridge— sometimes of several miles—and the fact that industrialists in Wales have said that this is affecting the Welsh economy, will the Minister consider abolishing the tolls?