§ Mr. Grant-Ferris
asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement about the preliminary Report of the British Waterways Board which he received before Christmas.
§ Mr. Marples
Yes. The Report will be published tomorrow and I have made arrangements for copies to be placed in the Vote Office this afternoon.
I am grateful to the Board for this Report which is a lively and helpful contribution towards the consideration of the future of the waterways. I am obliged to it for completing this first stage of its task so quickly.
I am also impressed with the energetic steps the Board has already taken to improve its financial position in pursuance of its statutory duty.
The Board makes it clear that as yet its views are tentative and that more detailed studies and consultations are necessary, particularly a detailed engineering survey and systematic financial investigations in relation to the alternative courses open to it. It suggests that as the next step it should proceed with these. I agree with and 60W welcome this intention. Conclusions on the preliminary indications of the Report and on future policy cannot be reached until the studies have been completed.