asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation on what date work will recommence on the Dart-ford—Purfleet Tunnel.
As the hon. Member knows, it is proposed to recommence work on this tunnel next year. I cannot at present be more precise than this as to dates.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that information has been given now for months? Can he not give some idea whether the work will be recommenced at the beginning or the end of the year? In view of the fact that many other districts want tunnels and are well behind in the queue, has a decision not yet been reached?
The fact that information was given some months ago does not make it less true today. This is an immensely expensive project—I think, the largest on our list of undertakings—and I am very glad it has been brought so far forward. This conflicts very vividly with the policy of the previous Administration.
While I support my hon. Friend entirely, did not the Minister state in the House in December that the Clyde Tunnel had first priority?
Certainly, but this project is even more expensive than the Clyde Tunnel.
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will now say how many shields will be required for the Dartford-Purfleet Tunnel.
This is being considered by the Dartford Tunnel Committee, whose views we are awaiting.
Surely this matter has been now under consideration for a very long time? Has the Minister been doing anything to speed up a decision from Dartford, in view of the fact that he has just intimated that the Dartford Tunnel will be resumed next year? Further, is there any reason why, when Glasgow has been assigned first priority, he should have to wait any decision from Dartford at all?
My right hon. Friend always feels great hesitation about trying to hasten local authorities in these matters. We are awaiting detailed estimates from the Glasgow Corporation as well as from the Dartford Tunnel Committee, and therefore my right hon. Friend is in the position of being obliged to wait for the initiative to be taken locally.