§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
No, Sir. The consultants' study into a second Severn crossing is expected to be completed later this summer. If work were to be stopped, the valuable time lost could not be regained. I can assure my hon. Friend that if it is decided to proceed with a second crossing, adequate arrangements will be made for consultation.
§ Mr. Stern
As my hon. Friend is no doubt aware, the lower reaches of the River Severn and the Bristol channel are currently threatened by two major projects, both of which could have extremely damaging environmental implications, although I would accept that the second Severn crossing is of minor import compared with the proposed Severn barrage. In view of my hon. Friend's confirmation that the two will not be linked, will he confirm today that the plans for the second crossing will be so designed as to minimise any environmental impact?
§ Mr. Bottomley
Yes, Sir. When my hon. Friend talked of little import, I am sure he meant that the Severn crossing might be of great importance to south Wales and to Avon. What I hope he meant, which I should like to confirm, is that full account will be taken of any effect on the environment and ecology, and that having a second crossing is likely to be of far less importance to the waders and other natural life than the barrage might be. I cannot speak for the barrage, but I can speak for the crossing.