To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to assess the environmental effects on Kent of the proposed high-speed rail link between London and the planned United Kingdom Channel tunnel terminus at Cheriton.
I must apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in replying to his question. I have written today to my hon. Friend to account for the delay.I refer my hon. Friend to the reply he received from my hon. Friend, the Minister for Public Transport, on 2 November. This indicated that British Rail had not brought forward any proposals for a high-speed rail link between London and the planned United Kingdom Channel tunnel terminus at Cheriton and that the results of its study into options for augmenting route, seating and terminal capacity in Kent were not expected until June 1988.Should British Rail subsequently produce proposals for such a rail link, its plans—including any environmental effects—would be the subject, in the first instance, of consultation with the relevant local authorities and other bodies and, ultimately, if they were to proceed, would require British Rail to promote a private Act of Parliament, as is normal for development by the board.