HC Deb 28 April 1986 vol 96 cc643-4
1. Dr. Marek

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what further proposals he has for improving transport infrastructure in Wales in general and in Clwyd in particular.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Wyn Roberts)

My proposals for the motorway and trunk road network in Wales, including Clwyd, are in set out in "Roads in Wales 1985"—a copy of which is in the Library of the House—and I have also published a consultation document "Roads for Wales, the 1990's and beyond". I shall also continue to encourage and assist where appropriate those bodies responsible for the provision of other elements of the transport infrastructure in Wales.

Dr. Marek

Is the Minister aware of my early-day motions on British Rail management, Nos. 2 to 5 inclusive, and Nos. 7 to 16 inclusive, which illustrate merely some of the horrors being perpetrated on the people of Wrexham following the singling of the line between Wrexham and Chester? As the Minister did not take my advice that he should try to stop British Rail from singling the line, now that the evidence of incompetence and dreadful services is before his eyes, will he encourage British Rail to reinstate double track as soon as possible?

Mr. Roberts

I had noticed the early-day motions tabled by the hon. Gentleman, which appear to be rather more regular than the services that they describe. I must emphasise to the hon. Gentleman that the Wrexham-Chester line is an operational matter for British Rail. I understand that British Rail remains firmly of the view that when the singling work is complete this, together with other measures—for example, new signalling at Chester, automatic level crossings and new rolling stock—will greatly improve the services.

Mr. Best

Bearing in mind the tremendous increase in traffic that has been occasioned by the A55, and particularly the traffic going along the A5 on Anglesey, will my hon. Friend look carefully at the possibility of a bypass around Holyhead and instruct a survey to be undertaken? Will he also accelerate the provision of bypasses around the five villages on Anglesey?

Mr. Roberts

I am aware of the pressure that my hon. Friend is bringing on my Department about traffic on Anglesey, and particularly on the A5. We have been studying the situation in various villages on Anglesey and we shall look at the Holyhead position as well.

Mr. Wigley

Will the Minister convey to the Secretary of State our best wishes for a speedy recovery and return to the House? As the Cabinet has been considering grave transport matters, particularly airports, and as no Welsh Office Minister has been in Cabinet, is this a reflection on the Welsh Office, or of the indifference of the Prime Minister towards Wales in general?

Mr. Roberts

I shall gladly convey the hon. Gentleman's good wishes to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, and I am pleased to tell the House that he is making a good recovery. As to Wales's interest in airports, I assure him and the House that the interests of Wales have not been neglected in any way.

Mr. Raffan

During the last Welsh Grand Committee my hon. Friend said that the Mold bypass was scheduled for the latter end of the orginal time band, in other words, no later than December 1988, but my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said that it was planned for the early part of the new band, in other words, soon after January 1988. Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Mold bypass will be started during 1988? Will it be started early or late that year?

Mr. Roberts

The timing of the Mold bypass was discussed in the last Welsh Grand Committee, and I have nothing to add to what I said about it then. I assure my hon. Friend that we shall use our best endeavours to make sure that the bypass is started on time.

Mr. Roy Hughes

May I express my good wishes to the Secretary of State, and express the wish that he will make a speedy recovery? Does the Minister appreciate that, far from improving the transport infrastructure in Wales, British Rail has proposals completely to decimate the rail-freight netword in south Wales. Therefore will he intercede with British Rail management to prevent that ill-conceived plan coming to fruition?

Mr. Roberts

Although that is a matter for British Rail, I assure the hon. Gentleman that British Rail does not intend to decimate the freight service. Indeed, it is quite the reverse—British Rail wishes to strengthen the service. Although one can be critical of British Rail's activities in Wales, one must not neglect the fact that it is to invest some £55 million in improving Welsh services during the next four years.

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