HC Deb 04 December 1974 vol 882 cc1540-1
13. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what capital expenditure on the improvement of canals and waterways is envisaged for the financial year 1975–76.

Mr. Denis Howell

Capital expenditure levels for the British Waterways Board and water authorities are determined as part of the annual review of public expenditure, the results of which will be published in the forthcoming White Paper. I have no information on the plans of independent waterway undertakings.

Mr. Hooley

In view of the immense economic and environmental advantages of inland waterway transport, will my hon. Friend use his influence to ensure that there is a reasonable allocation in this direction and perhaps a somewhat lower allocation for motorways?

Mr. Howell

Questions about the relativities of various forms of public expenditure are constantly under review by Ministers in my Department. Such considerations are never far from their minds.

Mr. Rossi

Has the hon. Gentleman's Department instituted a study to link the utilisation of waterways with the water resources programme so that the money to be spent on water resources for the drier parts of the country can be coupled with the use of those resources for transport also?

Mr. Howell

It is possibly a little too early to give a definite answer about that, although I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we are in constant discussion with the National Water Council on the principles which he has mentioned.

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