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River Severn Crossing

Volume 163: debated on Monday 4 December 1989

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4.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what date he has set for the invitation of tenders for the second crossing of the River Severn.

Tenders for the second Severn bridge were invited on 27 April and were received on 2 October. The assessment process is well under way.

I welcome the fact that at last there is to be a second crossing of the River Severn. It will get rid of the dreadful bottleneck that has strangled the Welsh economy. However, even at this late stage in the tendering process, is the Minister able to say whether the day has gone when a combination of energy generation and the road crossing would still be possible? The advantage of generating 7 per cent. of Britain's electricity combined with road crossing seems a sensible option which the Government should pursue.

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that questions about energy are for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy. However, my Department is committed to going ahead as quickly as possible with the second crossing. My right hon. Friend and I assure him that we shall do our level best to ensure that it is brought into being as quickly as possible.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the success of the recent exhibitions in Pilning and Avonmouth in my constituency on the southern routes for the second Severn crossing? Will he do all in his power to reach a final decision on the route as quickly as possible?

My hon. Friend frequently raises this matter to protect his constituents' interests and I know how deeply he feels it to be at the forefront of his political agenda. I assure the House that I shall do what I can to speed up the process.