HC Deb 29 April 1996 vol 276 cc760-1
10. Mr. Llwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proposals he has to encourage a fully integrated public transport system in Wales; and if he will make a statement.[25641]

Mr. Hague

Planning policy guidance to be issued soon will encourage local authorities to develop public transport facilities. I will also publish a transport policy statement later in the year.

Mr. Llwyd

That is, at least, a fairly encouraging answer. The Minister referred earlier to the £2.9 billion that is to be spent on roads in Wales. Would not some of that money be better spent providing a fully integrated public transport system? When, if ever, will the Government take notice of the Welsh Affairs Committee report, which suggested that investment should be pumped into the railways to enable someone to travel from the north to the south of Wales in three and a half hours? When will we have a proper transport authority in Wales in order to ensure that the public transport system is attractive—the current system is no use to anyone?

Mr. Hague

It is clearly important to continue to develop transport infrastructure in Wales. It is important also that, wherever possible, people have a choice of means of transport. As we have discussed already this afternoon, we have improved road infrastructure and we have provided substantial assistance to the railways throughout our time in office. Air transport—at least at Cardiff Wales international airport, with its enhanced passenger throughput—has also improved in recent years.

We must continue to improve all those forms of transport while taking account of how to protect the environment. When I put together my policy statement later in the year, I shall consider all the representations made to me—including those from the hon. Gentleman.