HC Deb 24 May 1971 vol 818 cc7-8
6. Mr. Nicholas Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will establish an inquiry, either on a departmental basis or in co-operation with the Welsh Council, to make a comprehensive re-examination of the transport requirements of the Principality, including the road, air and rail services, and to report on the way in which they may best be improved.

Mr. Peter Thomas

The Welsh Council will continue to pay particular attention to the public transport situation in Wales and will report its conclusions to me. In the circumstances, I do not think a further inquiry is necessary.

Mr. Edwards

I am glad that the Welsh Council will consider the matter, but there will be some disappointment at my right hon. Friend's reply. Is he aware that, while we welcome the speeding up of the major road programme, there are many aspects of the Welsh transport scene which cause concern—nobably the lack of any air service between South Wales and London or within the Principality itself, the inadequacy of the rail system even over many existing routes and the shortcomings of the rural buses and that, if we go into Europe, as I hope we shall, an improved transport system will be even more important?

Mr. Peter Thomas

I certainly agree that there are many anxieties about transport in Wales, and the transport requirements in the Principality are continually being examined by the responsible Departments, which act in close liaison.

Mr. Ifor Davies

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the growing fears concerning future air services at the Fair-wood airport in my constituency, having regard to its importance to the economic and industrial development of West Wales? Is he further aware that a consortium of West Wales local authorities, together with the Swansea authority, is struggling hard to keep this airport open? Would he investigate the possibilities of giving aid in accordance with the Government's civil aviation policy?

Mr. Peter Thomas

I am aware of these anxieties and of the views which have been expressed. As the hon. Gentleman knows, a meeting was arranged between those interested from his constituency and around his constituency with my right hon. Friend who is responsible.