§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now make a statement on the progress of the Channel Tunnel negotiations.
§ Mr. Peyton
The British and French Governments and the Private International Group have today signed agreements covering the period up to July, 1973, when the studies are expected to be completed. The agreements also include arrangements for subsequent phases if it is then decided with the approval of Parliament to proceed to construction of the tunnel.
Expenditure under these agreements will bring the total since April, 1971, up to about £5.4 million. The money is being raised by the private group with Government guarantees for approximately one half. The necessary Parliamentary authority will be sought in the Winter Supplementary Estimates. The British Government's maximum contingent liability for the period of studies is of the order of £4–£5 million. I shall make the English text of the agreements available to the House in due course.