HC Deb 19 June 1956 vol 554 cc84-5W
80. Sir A. Gomme-Duncan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is yet in a position to make a statement about a Forth crossing.

Mr. J. Stuart

I met representatives of the Forth Road Bridge Joint Board on 15th June. The Board is unanimously of the opinion that the crossing should take the form of a bridge, as recommended by the Expert Panel; and, after careful consideration, the Government agree with this view. The Board is, therefore, being informed that, subject to discussion of the financial and technical matters to which I shall refer, the preparatory work and plans should now be completed up to the contract letting stage. It remains the Government's intention to authorise a start on the scheme within the four-year period referred to in the statement made by the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation on 2nd February, 1955. In deciding the precise date of starting, regard must naturally be had to general economic circumstances.

Since the Order of 1947 was enacted, the estimated cost of the bridge and approach roads has risen from £6.2 million to something between £10 million and £15 million. It has, therefore, been agreed that local authority and Departmental officers will review the methods of financing the project as a matter of urgency and report to the Government and the local authorities concerned. The Government do not rule out the possibility of assuming responsibility for the project as a trunk road scheme subject to tolls.

It has also been agreed that local authority and Departmental officers will re-examine, as a matter of urgency, some aspects of the plans—mainly in regard to access roads.