HC Deb 20 May 1998 vol 312 cc944-5
9. Mr. John Smith (Vale of Glamorgan)

If he will make a statement on the freight transport strategy for Wales. [41421]

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Ron Davies)

My hon. Friend will be aware that, on Monday this week, I announced plans for a £15 million European rail freight terminal at Wentlooge, which will open in 1999. It is a very exciting project, which will bring huge benefits to the economy and the environment of Wales. It is a major step forward in the Government's encouragement of rail freight instead of road freight. The Government will shortly publish a United Kingdom transport White Paper setting out our integrated transport policies, including further measures to encourage and develop freight transport. At around the same time, I will publish a complementary transport policy statement for Wales, which will reflect the particular circumstances and transport needs in Wales.

Mr. Smith

I am grateful for that reply. Will my right hon. Friend join me in welcoming the announcement this week of a rail freight terminal in Cardiff that will serve to make Wales one of the most attractive investment locations in Europe by providing direct rail freight access to the largest consumer market in the world? Will he contrast his decision, which was taken one year into a new Labour Government, with the actions of his predecessors, the Tory Secretaries of State, who prevaricated and damagingly delayed the decision—and especially the lamentable Leader of the Opposition who is still damaging our business and trading relationships with Europe?

Mr. Davies

I am far too modest to claim personal credit for the project, but I can recall two years ago pressing the then Secretary of State for Wales, the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague), to pull his finger out and get on with the job. He failed to do so, but I am delighted to say that this is yet another resounding success for the new Labour Government.

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