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River Tamar Crossing (Report)

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 27 October 1954

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50.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he has any further statement to make on the proposal to bridge the River Tamar.

69.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will make a statement on the Report of the Technical Panel which was set up to inquire into the proposed new bridge over the River Tamar.

I would refer both hon. Members to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. J. J. Astor) on 25th October.

May I ask the Minister to bear in mind that all southbound traffic into Cornwall and all traffic from Plymouth must negotiate the Torpoint Ferry, which is a real bottleneck and holds up traffic for hours at a time? Is he also aware that the whole of Cornwall regards the proposal for a bridge over the Tamar as being one of urgent priority?

As I said in the Answer to which I referred, I have now to consider this Panel's recommendations in consultation with the local authorities concerned.

As a representative of the West Country, may I ask my right hon. Friend if he can give the House any idea when he is likely to come to a conclusion on this matter, because there is a feeling in the West Country that nothing is to be done at all?

My hon. Friend knows that I have only just received the Report, and that the next step must be to consult the local authorities in the West Country about it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this proposal for a high level bridge has been supported by the Plymouth City Council for many years, and that his Department has had all the details as to how the job can be done? Will he not give us some date on which he actually proposes action in the matter?

Apart from anything else, it would be most disrespectful to the local authorities concerned to do any such thing before I even start the discussions with them.

Will my right hon. Friend say whether there is a possibility within the next 12 months of starting to implement the recommendations referred to by the Panel?

I take it that what my hon. Friend has in mind are the major recommendations with respect to construction, rather than the minor ones with respect to the amelioration of traffic conditions. I can say nothing on the major ones at present.