HC Deb 05 July 1982 vol 27 cc4-5
4. Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will study the feasibility of a Dee barrage as a method of producing energy and providing a land bridge from North Wales to Merseyside.

Mr. Michael Roberts

We have no plans for further studies at present.

Mr. Alton

Will the Minister reconsider that decision, particularly in view of the great economic benefits that would accrue from such a land bridge and barrage on the Dee? Will he also consider asking Bangor and Liverpool universities to undertake a joint study of the environmental implications of such a project?

Mr. Roberts

The reports in 1971 and 1974 considered schemes to provide a road crossing and an additional water supply, and the tidal energy potential of the Dee was discussed in a report in 1980. None of those amounts to a convincing case for a barrage. As regards the provision of a land bridge, any barrage would need to be situated too far north to make ready use of the existing road network and would require substantial new investment in road links.

Sir Anthony Meyer

Is my hon. Friend aware that although many of the arguments of the early 1970s are no longer valid, the argument for an additional crossing is stronger than ever? Will he consider that on its merits?

Mr. Roberts

Certainly the North-East Clwyd traffic study published in 1980 concluded that traffic flows at the Queensferry crossing will have reached critical levels at peak periods in the early 1990s. This is a matter for the local authority and I understand that further studies are taking place.