Skip to main content

Second Severn Crossing

Volume 205: debated on Monday 9 March 1992

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will visit the site of the second Severn crossing at Caldicot, Gwent.

If the Secretary of State were to visit Caldicot, the people there would quickly remind him that Wales is in a state of deep repression—I mean, depression. They see no sense in imposing tolls on the existing bridge of £2·80 for a motor car, £5·60 for a minibus, and £8·40 for a lorry. Have not the Government given the French-backed consortium a licence to print money?

I am disappointed at the hon. Gentleman's negative attitude to a £300 million-plus investment in a second crossing of the Severn, which will improve enormously communications for the people of Wales. There is considerable confusion among Labour Members over whether their party supports continued tolling. We heard only last week from Labour's deputy leader that his party would abandon tolling in Scotland. If that policy were applied throughout Britain, as was also said by the right hon. Gentleman, it would cost £1·2 billion—an additional cost to the taxpayer which could only mean less investment in roads. The Opposition's policy is confused—and I do not agree that the people of Wales are repressed.

Is it not clear that the substantial staged increases in respect of the existing bridge are being imposed simply to provide money for the second, privatised bridge? Did the Welsh Office, because of the enormous blows to the location policy in Wales, bother to make representations against them?

The Government are united in their commitment to improving road communications in Wales. Labour was the first party to introduce the idea of a Severn crossing—and of a tolled crossing, at that. Labour does not have a clear policy on whether it believes in a second and tolled crossing, or wants just one very congested bridge—which would be very bad news for Wales.