§ 41. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has yet completed his study of the report by the panel of experts on whether the River Forth road crossing should be by a bridge or underwater tunnel ; and if he will now make a statement on the subject.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. James Stuart)
As I stated in reply to a Question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Sir A. Gomme-Duncan) on 19th June, the Government have agreed with the Forth Road Bridge Joint Board that the crossing should take the form of a bridge, as recommended by the expert panel. As regards a further statement, I regret that I am unable at present to add to the reply given to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Sir W. Anstruther-Gray) on 23rd October.
§ Mr. Hughes
While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that Answer, may I ask whether he realises that this matter is of urgent importance to the whole East Coast of Scotland, both socially and from a business point of view? Can he give any indication when the work is likely to begin and how long it will take?
§ Mr. Stuart
I could not say exactly how long it will take but the date before which it will start has already been announced and I have no reason to make any alteration in it.
§ 50. Sir W. Anstruther-Gray
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he is making as highway authority pending further progress with the Forth road bridge to ensure that the present ferry service does not deteriorate.
§ Mr. J. Stuart
The British Transport Commission has recently improved the Queensferry passage by adding a further vessel to the fleet and I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation that it has no intention of curtailing the service before the bridge is in use.
§ Sir W. Anstruther-Gray
Will my right hon. Friend be for ever vigilant to ensure that this service is kept up to the mark?
§ Mr. Stuart
As I said, the service actually comes under the British Transport Commission, and it was a question as to whether my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation or I should reply. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will do what my hon. and gallant Friend desires, and as I use the ferry more than he does, we shall both do our best.