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London Docklands: Transport

Volume 447: debated on Monday 6 February 1984

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My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in connection with the development of the area covered by the London Docklands Development Corporation, the Government are prepared to authorise the operation of an independent light rapid transport system operated by private enterprise.

My Lords, the Government will want any proposals for private participation in rapid transport systems in the docklands to be carefully evaluated on their merits. I regret I cannot be more definite than that in the absence of specific proposals.

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that moderately encouraging reply. Am I right in assuming that it means that the Government do not rule out both an essay in privatisation and the experimental development of one or other of the modern methods of rapid urban transport which are now being developed in other cities of the world?

My Lords, my noble friend is right in both his assumptions.

My Lords, is it not a fact that the last report of London Transport emphasised that, in October 1982, the Government had approved a proposal for light railway in docklands to be financed jointly by the London Docklands Development Corporation and the GLC? Is that not an excellent example of public enterprise? Moreover, as it is to link up with the ordinary Underground system, is not the matter best left there?

My Lords, the noble Lord is quite right. This is a joint development between the LDDC and the GLC through their agents London Transport. At the moment there is no question of its being left or removed. That is the position. But the scheme will not come into use before 1987, and there is much preparatory work yet to be done.