HC Deb 25 November 1970 vol 807 cc390-2
19. Mr. Sheldon

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a further statement on the Channel Tunnel.

Mr. Peyton

I have nothing to add to what I told the hon. Member on 4th November.—[Vol. 805, c. 1073–4.]

Mr. Sheldon

Since the right hon. Gentleman will accept that these proposals were produced eight years ago and that technology in these matters does not stand still, and since we have discussed these proposals for the last seven years, surely it is about time to reconsider the whole matter and end the nonsense of a Channel Tunnel built on the proposals of such a long time ago.

Mr. Peyton

The hon. Member will recall that the Government that he supported were in power for about six years. The present Government have not been in office for six months yet—[HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."] I can understand the relief of hon. Members no longer to have responsibility for what they left behind them. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that two Governments are involved with this, as well as a substantial international group. We are dealing with complicated proposals and we will make progress as quickly as possible.

Mr. Crouch

May I put it to my hon. Friend that I hope that he will soon put the House out of its agony of waiting for a decision for which we have waited so many years, which in my county of Kent has put a complete blight on the development of roads to the Channel ports? Would he remember that, at the moment, until this decision is made, the M2 stops 20 miles short of Britain's busiest port, Dover? We hope that he will soon put us out of our agony and tell us that we are not to go ahead with this proposition.

Mr. Peyton

I learn with a good deal of pain that my hon. Friend is in agony. Of course I would do anything I could to relieve such a very undesirable situation.

Mr. Costain

Does my hon. Friend appreciate the injustice to constituents who are trying to sell houses in the blighted area? Will he take the opportunity of reading the letter which I wrote to his Department today, and get some decision on this?

Mr. Peyton

I realise entirely what both my hon. Friends are saying—that considerable hardship is involved as a result of prolonged uncertainty. The Government will do their best to relieve this as soon as possible.