§ 25. Mr. Fernyhough
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is now in a position to state the date on which the Tyne Tunnel project will commence.
§ Mr. Watkinson
I am still awaiting comments from some of the interested bodies on the question whether a crossing of the Tyne should take the form of a bridge or a tunnel. Until that point has been decided I cannot make any decision about when it may be possible to include an approved scheme in the road, programme.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a number of people in the North are cynical about this 401 matter? Is he aware that plans were approved for a tunnel, and that it was not until his predecessor threw out the idea of a bridge—many people thought he did so in order deliberately to delay the project—that there was any suggestion of a bridge? Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, when this project is sanctioned, the recent statement which he made to the National Productivity Advissory Council on Industry will apply; and whether this project, which has been under discussion, for which plans have been made and the necessary ground bought, will provide free transport, or whether there will have to be a toll charge?
§ Mr. Watkinson
I cannot allocate this project any place in the programme at all until a decision has been taken by the interested parties—which at the moment do not include myself—whether a bridge is suitable or not. As soon as I have that information I can go into the matter.
§ Dame Irene Ward
While not necessarily agreeing with the strictures passed by the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough), may I ask whether my right hon. Friend could go up to the North and do a bit of "stirring up".