HC Deb 23 April 1990 vol 171 cc11-2
17. Mr. Roy Hughes

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has had recent discussions with county councils in south Wales concerning the second Severn crossing.

Mr. Portillo

The Government's recent announcement of a second Severn bridge has been widely welcomed by people on both sides of the Severn, and officials of this Department and at the Welsh Office are in regular contact with the county councils involved.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister appreciate that the county councils will require some clarification of the respective bids? On the information supplied to me about tolling, finance and the concession period, there seems to be confusion, not only among the tenderers but in the Department. Why should this difficulty have arisen? Can the Minister throw any light on it?

Mr. Portillo

The decision was clear cut; there was clear daylight between the bids received. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is thinking about the proposal by the Trafalgar House consortium for a £1 car toll. That also involved a £4 toll for heavy goods vehicles, which the hon. Gentleman would not have welcomed, and a 50-year concession period—well over double the period expected by the winning bid. It was a non-conforming bid which we did not accept. The bid that we accepted was superior.