HC Deb 19 May 1952 vol 501 cc29-30
43. Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Transport what action he is taking within his powers under the Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1888, to safeguard the interests of the users of the Kennet and Avon Canal, of which the Reading to Newbury section is still closed to traffic.

Mr. Braithwaite

The British Transport Commission, on whom responsibility rests for the upkeep of this waterway, inform us that, following the reconstruction and repair of some of the locks, it has been re-opened as far as Midgham Lock, about 14 miles from the junction with the Thames at Reading. The necessary work beyond this point is presenting difficulties, but when the reconstruction of Colthrop Tumbling Bay is completed it should be possible for traffic to proceed as far as Newbury.

Mr. Hurd

As this part of the canal has been closed to traffic for a long time, will my hon. Friend give the facilities that the inland waterway authorities want to finish the work, so that they can get it done effectively now?

Mr. Braithwaite indicated assent.

Mr. Mikardo

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the information he has given will be greatly welcomed in the district? Is he also aware that it is good to see the Transport Commission doing something under its obligations to put into use these waterways, which were allowed to become derelict before the Commission was set up?

Mr. Hurd

Is my hon. Friend not aware that the canal has been closed for two years?