HC Deb 23 November 1966 vol 736 cc1372-3
4. Mr. Carol Johnson

asked the Minister of Transport what progress has been made with the discussions envisaged in paragraph 126 of the White Paper on Transport Policy, Command Paper No. 3057, with regard to the future of inland waterways; and with what bodies discussions have taken place.

Mr. John Morris

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer given to the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells—[Vol. 736, c. 115]—on 16th November and to my remarks in the debate on 18th November—[Vol. 736, c. 879–85].

Mr. Johnson

Am I to understand from that reply and from the White Paper generally that the Minister has closed her mind completely to the creation of a separate waterways trust on the lines submitted to her by responsible bodies, including the Parliamentary Inland Waterways Group? If so, will my hon. Friend give an assurance that the extent of the network to be retained by the Board or its successor and the security of tenure to be granted will be considered carefully before final decisions are made?

Mr. Morris

As regards the trust referred to by my hon. Friend, my right hon. Friend has set out her intentions fairly clearly in the White Paper. It is not her intention to have a separate trust. There are very good reasons for having the management of both the commercial and the amenity sides of the network under one roof.

The size of the network and the security of tenure are matters, obviously, which will be raised in the course of the consultations.