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Departmental Assets

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what assets of his Department are planned to be sold in each year from 2009-10 to 2013-14; what the (a) description and (b) book value of each such asset is; what the expected revenue from each such sale is; and if he will make a statement. (300208)

The Government have stated their intention to realise £16 billion in disposals over the period 2011-14 and will publish further details of opportunities to commercialise business assets in the coming weeks.

The Department for Transport is considering a number of opportunities for asset sales. However, the timing of any sale is subject to market conditions being right.

Details on value cannot be released due to the need to protect the Department's position in future sale negotiations.

Two high profile examples are Dartford Crossing and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1).

Dartford Crossing

The A282 Dartford Crossing comprises the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which provides four southbound lanes, while two tunnels under the Thames provide a four-lane northbound facility. Use of the crossing is subject to a congestion charge in both directions paid at a plaza located to the south of the Thames.

The Department is working with HM Treasury and the Shareholder Executive to consider the commercial options for realising value for the taxpayer from the Dartford Crossing. No estimate of the saleable value of the Dartford Crossing has been made. Any such valuation would depend on the nature of any commercial agreements for a sale, including, but not exclusively, the length of those arrangements, the level of future charges and forecast future traffic volumes. The Department is planning to provide initial views from the analysis on future capacity options in early 2010. This will provide a basis for deciding which commercialisation option to pursue.

It is not possible to say when a sale might be finalised.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link—High Speed 1 (HS1)

High Speed 1 (formerly known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link) is the high speed line which operates between St. Pancras International Station and the Channel Tunnel. It is operated by HS1 Ltd which is owned by London and Continental Railways (LCR).

The Department is currently engaged in a restructuring of London and Continental Railways. Following this, it is the Department's intention, as market conditions allow, to sell a long-term concession for High Speed 1 in such a way as to maximise value for money for the taxpayer. The Government would not wish to publish its estimate of the expected proceeds at this stage; to do so might condition the competitive sale process and damage value.

It is not possible to say when a sale might be finalised.