HC Deb 20 December 1967 vol 756 cc1264-5
17. Mr. Ogden

asked the Minister of Transport what further progress has been made with the Seaforth Scheme on Merseyside; how many container berths are to be constructed; and if she is satisfied with present proposals for future expansion.

Mr. Swingler

Construction started in September; we are satisfied that the planned 10 berths, including at least 3 container berths, will meet needs for the next few years and that there is adequate scope for future change or expansion.

Mr. Ogden

May we have an assurance that this is not one of the programmes being considered for cuts in capital expenditure? May we also have an assurance that communications from the ports and the container berths are being given very serious study?

Mr. Swingler

Yes. I can give my hon. Friend both those assurances.

Mr. Fortescue

Will not the whole purpose of the new container port be lost unless a motorway link between Liverpool and the M6 is completed before the berths are completed?

Mr. Swingler

We are now considering with local authorities road links to the container berths. We had that in mind all the time, and we are now in discussion with them about it.

Mr. Heffer

In view of the fact that certain suggestions have been made that the container berths should be concentrated in the south of England, which would undoubtedly have a terrible effect on Merseyside, can my hon. Friend give me an assurance that under no circumstances would that be accepted and that every facility will be provided for the development of container berths on Merseyside, and in Liverpool in particular?

Mr. Swingler

Yes, Sir. That is made plain by the Answer which I have given and also by my right hon. Friend's decision to place container berths in Scotland, for example.