HC Deb 13 February 1983 vol 54 cc8-9
8. Dr. Marek

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has for the development of transport and transport infrastructure in Wales.

Mr. John Stradling Thomas

The Government's strategy for the development of the road network in Wales is set out in "Roads in Wales 1983"—a copy of which is in the Library of the House. As for public transport in Wales generally, we propose to issue a consultation paper about possible changes in responsibilities for transport services.

Dr. Marek

The announcement of a consultation paper will be widely welcomed in Wales. Will the Minister do all that he can to ensure that there are no irrevocable changes in transport infrastructure in Wales before the consultation process has been completed?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

Yes, I think that I can give that assurance. It is a consultation paper, but it would not be profitable to speculate on its content in advance of publication. There will be full consultation.

Mr. Geraint Howells

What representations, if any, has the Minister made to the chairman of British Rail regarding the future of the mid-Wales line, the Cambrian coast line, and the Shrewsbury to Llanelli line to ensure that more money is spent on those lines and that services are improved?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

Consultations are continuing on those subjects.

Mr. Wigley

Does the Minister accept that an important part of the infrastructure of Gwynedd is the port of Holyhead, and that there is considerable fear in Holyhead about the privatisation of Sealink? Can the hon. Gentleman assure us that his Department has been involved in this matter, and can he give a guarantee that there will be no job losses at Sealink?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

I cannot give the hon. Gentleman an assurance on the second part of his supplementary. As he knows, the Government intend to privatise Sealink. I hope that that will strengthen the position in Holyhead.

Mr. Barry Jones

May I tell the Minister of State of British Rail's miserable and disgraceful decision to single-track 12 miles of the Wrexham to Bidston railway line this coming year, although it told me in a letter late last year that it would be 1988–89? Will he instruct British Rail's executives to think again and initiate meaningful consultations? What will the Minister of State do to help my very worried constituents?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, the single-tracking of that line is a matter for the Railways Board. It considers that the current and anticipated traffic can be accommodated on single track. I have noted the point made by the hon. Gentleman. We have discussed the matter previously.