HC Deb 11 March 1959 vol 601 cc1253-4
44. Mr. Gower

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will advance the date for the authorisation of the Severn Bridge project, including the approach roads.

58. Mr. Corfield

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is now in a position to authorise the building of the Severn Bridge; and on what date he expects work thereon, and on the approach roads thereto, to commence.

Mr. Nugent

For technical reasons the building of the bridges across the Forth and the Severn is planned as a single co-ordinated operation. The date for beginning work on the Severn Bridge is linked, therefore, with progress of work on the Forth Bridge. Construction of the approach roads cannot be begun until an Order under Section 3 of the Special Roads Act, 1949, dealing with roads and accesses affected by the approach roads has been made and the land needed has been acquired. We hope to publish the draft Order this year.

Mr. Gower

May I say that I hope my hon. Friend is not suggesting that because the two bridge building operations are related, nothing can be done to speed the construction of the approach roads and that I hope he will give an assurance that this will be done much more quickly than has yet been envisaged?

Mr. Nugent

It cannot be done more quickly than I have indicated. We have the plans of the consulting engineers for these roads almost ready, as my right hon. Friend told the House on 12th February. As soon as the Order is published the statutory procedure has to be gone through which might involve objections from property owners, local author ties and other interests concerned. Naturally, we must deal with these in a proper democratic way.

Mr. Corfield

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the employment situation in the Bristol area, and also that this is one of the types of work which could relieve that situation without in any way affecting parts of the country where the actual figures for unemployment happen to be higher?

Mr. Nugent

We certainly have that consideration very much in mind with regard to our road programmes and, indeed, in relation to this area. Nevertheless, the statutory procedure for laying down the line of this road and acquiring the necessary property must be gone through in the ordinary way.

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