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Cross-Channel Cable

Volume 529: debated on Monday 28 June 1954

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1.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the present position with regard to the experimental arrangements for linking the electric power system of Great Britain with Western Europe by means of a cross-Channel power cable; and what consideration has been given by his Department to the construction of a tunnel under the Channel for this purpose which would serve to carry the necessary cables as well as provide a pilot tunnel for the road and rail tunnel which could be built as soon as Her Majesty's Government's objections thereto are overcome.

The proposals which I approved, and to which I referred in my statement of 6th July last year, were for experiments in regard to a scheme for laying submarine cables and transmitting electric power across the Channel. No proposals have been made to me for the construction of a tunnel. Cable-laying trials were conducted off the English coast last summer, and the corresponding sea trials by the French authorities are now in progress at Boulogne.

Will the Minister consider discussing the matter with his colleagues, as a move of that sort might be of considerable use in bringing about understandings between the Western European Powers and ourselves, and particularly, also, in respect to reducing the cost of generating power?

I had before me a concrete proposal from the British Electricity Authority which had been agreed with √Člectricit√© de France, and I think we ought to press on with our own practical scheme.