HC Deb 31 January 1940 vol 356 cc1128-9
29. Mr. E. Smith

asked the Minister of Transport what action he intends to take to increase the volume of tonnage carried on the canals and waterways, in view of the great potential carrying capacity of the canals?

31. Sir P. Hannon

asked the Minister of Transport whether any definite scheme of co-operation between railways and canals, in dealing with the problem of heavy transport during the war, is in process or is contemplated in the near future; and whether facilities for inland water transport are being fully employed?

Captain Wallace

I am in close touch with the canal industry and am examining with them what additional contribution inland waterways can make towards the solution of our national transport problems, and what further practical steps the Government can take towards arranging that the traffic which can best be carried by canal is so carried. The Canal (Defence) Advisory Committee, which is having a further meeting this afternoon, includes representatives of the waterways and canal carriers together with representatives of the various Departments concerned in getting traffic moved.

Sir P. Hannon

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware of the immense services rendered by canals during the last war, in the transport of heavy materials especially, and will he give sympathetic consideration to the proposals submitted to him this afternoon?

Captain Wallace

Any proposals submitted this afternoon or at any other time will be most carefully examined.

Mr. John Wilmot

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that at this very time valuable canals are being allowed to fall into disrepair and become useless?

Captain Wallace

I think there are cases where that happens.