HC Deb 12 December 1983 vol 50 c667
17. Mr. Grist

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received relating to a new Severn river crossing.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

I have received representations on this matter from private individuals, local authorities and from a number of firms and representatives of the business community in south Wales.

Mr. Grist

There will be a widespread welcome for my right hon. Friend's announcement that a statement is to be made on the matter shortly. We hope that the statement will be made before Christmas. Since we all believe it to be inevitable that the second crossing will eventually be announced, the sooner the announcement is made, the better.

Mr. Edwards

My right hon. Friend and I are considering the matter closely and with the greatest urgency. Indeed, I met him and his officials in my office at the end of last week. It is more likely, however, that the statement will be made early in the new year than before the Christmas recess.

Mr. Coleman

In view of the urgent need in Wales for a second crossing over the Severn, would it not be prudent for the Welsh Office to develop the other entry into Wales —the A465?

Mr. Edwards

It is important to develop all the possible entries into Wales. I welcome the important motorway link with Telford, which will have profound importance for mid-Wales and north Wales. There is also a great deal of work in progress on the A40 and the links with mid-Wales, which will help us to avoid sending traffic down the southern corridor which then has to turn north to reach mid-Wales.

Mr. Barry Jones

Would not a second crossing give a massive boost to the steel, cement and construction industries in south Wales? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Cwmbran, on 9 January, Mr. Lloyd Turnbull is to chair a meeting about a second crossing? Will the right hon. Gentleman or one of his Ministers attend that meeting?

Mr. Edwards

I shall consider whether the Welsh Office should be represented at that meeting. However, I do not need to be told about the vital importance of that road link. I have spoken about it on many occasions, and I understand it as well as any hon. Member or anyone in Wales. The Government are determined to ensure that the crossing is as adequate as possible.