§ 17. Mr. Brooks
asked the Minister of Transport what is his estimate of the increase in commuter traffic between south and north Merseyside likely by the late nineteen-seventies; and what proposals he has for providing further river river crossings during the next decade.
Mr. Bob Brown
Although we have some indications of the future volume of commuter traffic across the Mersey, full and up-to-date information must await completion of the Merseyside Area Land Use Transportation Study. Until then no decisions can be taken on further river crossings, beyond the duplication of the Liverpool-Wallasey Tunnel which is already programmed.
§ Mr. Brooks
Will my hon. Friend confirm that the public will have ample opportunity to consider the land use implications of the high-level bridge 403 which is now under consideration between Bebington and Liverpool? Further, does he agree that the high costs of commuting across the River Mersey require considerable thought to be given, when future decisions are taken, over the location of new jobs in Liverpool and Wirral respectively.
The public will be consulted by the M.A.L.U.T. study. The decision on the third crossing will depend on the findings of the M.A.L.U.T. study. It is too early to say, as yet, whether it will take the form of a tunnel or a bridge. This will depend on the location, cost, and other factors.
§ Mr. Fortescue
Has any consideration been given to the possibility of a hovercraft service across the upper Mersey estuary which, being all water at high tide and nearly all sand at low tide, will be eminently suitable for such a form of transport?
This is another question. In any event, this is surely a question for the Merseyside Area Land Use Transportation Study Group.
As I have said, this is a matter for the Study Group. It is too early to say at this stage. The location will depend entirely on cost and other factors.
§ Mr. Tilney
Does the Minister agree that Merseyside, although undergoing a little heart surgery at present in the construction of two tunnels, will in future badly need more bridges if the two sides of the Mersey are to operate as one economic unit?
No. while some forecasts of the future volume of cross-river traffic have been made—for example, in the Merseyside Traffic Survey published in 1962—we consider that the projections to be produced as part of the M.A.L.U.T. study will prove more useful for the long-term transportation planning of the area.