HC Deb 22 October 1975 vol 898 cc463-4
7. Mr. Gray

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now announce the names of the successful contractors for the bridges linking North and South Kessock and from Findon to Ardullie both on the A9.

Mr. Millan

Discussions about the possibility of finding a cheaper way of building the bridge at Kessock are still in progress. I have not yet invited tenders for the bridging of the Cromarty Firth.

Mr. Gray

Does the Minister realise that grave concern is spreading over the Highlands of Scotland due to the indecision by the Government about these projects and that the A9 is a vital link to the industrial development of Easter Ross, which we all hope will thrive but which cannot do so to the full until this matter is dealt with satisfactorily? Does he realise that we can take a road to the water but only the Secretary of State in Scotland has the power to make it cross?

Mr. Millan

It is quite an expensive crossing at present. I am not sure what the hon. Gentleman meant when he mentioned indecision. The statement about the Kessock bridge was made only at the end of July and there have been discussions since then with a number of people, including the Inverness Harbour Authority. A number of alternative possibilities have already been explored. A crossing of this sort, for which the lowest tender was more than £30 million, requires serious consideration, particularly when Opposition Members are constantly telling us to save public expenditure.