HC Deb 28 February 1882 vol 266 cc1837-8

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he will state to the House the names of the members of the Committee appointed to consider the Channel Tunnel scheme?


In reply to my noble Friend, I have to state, in the first place, that the Committee to which he refers is not appointed to consider the Channel Tunnel scheme generally, but, as the House already knows, only to investigate one incident of that scheme—that is to say, they will make a full and exhaustive examination from a scientific point of view—and without reference to the ulterior question of national expediency—into the practicability of closing effectually the projected Tunnel. They will satisfy themselves whether it is certain beyond any reasonable doubt that, in the event of war, or apprehended war, the Tunnel and its proposed approaches under the existing Acts of Parliament, and the Bills now before Parliament, can be rendered absolutely useless, and in what manner. They will consider and report what appliances, whether of destruction, of obstruction, of flooding, or of all combined, should be provided, including any work defending or commanding the exit, so that the use of the Tunnel, in every imaginable contingency, may be, beyond doubt, denied to an enemy. Great pains have been taken in constituting the Committee, which is eminently a scientific body, to make sure that the scientific opinions on both sides are fully brought out; and I think that its composition will undoubtedly secure this. The Committee, as appointed, consists of Sir Archibald Alison (head of the Intelligence Department) as Chairman; Mr. Barlow and Mr. Graves, civil engineers; three military engineers; Major General Galwey (the Inspector General of Fortifications); Sir Andrew Clarke, the present, and Sir John Stokes, the late, Commandant of the School of Military Engineering; Colonel Alderson (Assistant Director of Artillery); Colonel Majendie (Inspector of Explosives); and Professor Abel. Since the Committee was appointed, Mr. Barlow has informed me that he has been consulted as to one of the Tunnel schemes, and his place on the Committee will, therefore, be filled by another engineer, unconnected with either Company. The Instructions to the Committee will be laid on the Table with the other Papers.