HC Deb 27 June 1978 vol 952 cc460-1W
Mr. Buchanan

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the German Minister of Transport concerning co-operation between West Germany and the United Kingdom on railway and other transport matters; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. William Rodgers

Herr Gscheidle, the German Minister of Transport, visited London yesterday for talks on matters of common concern, particularly the transport of rail freight between the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany. The first president of the Deutsche Bundesbahn and representatives of the British Railways Board played a full part in the discussions. There was a useful exchange of views about progress on other European transport issues. Herr Gschcidle indicated that for 1978 he would increase the general quota for United Kingdom lorries travelling to and through Germany by about 10 per cent. to a total of 9,000 permits.

The following joint statement was issued at the conclusion of our talks: We are resolved to work together in a spirit of mutual understanding with a view to closer co-operation in all transport problems. In particular, we wish to strengthen our relationship in railway matters so that our railway systems can win a greater share of the freight traffic between the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany. We believe that our railways can offer a service to industry that is increasingly attractive to customers. We wish to remove any barriers to trade and endorse the Action Programme jointly prepared by British Rail and the Deutsche Bundesbahn. It is against the background of an efficient and prosperous railway system that other transport problems can fall into place. We have instructed our officials to keep jointly under review progress on measures to facilitate freight traffic between our two countries and we have called upon British Rail and the Deutsche Bundesbahn to make a further report to us at the end of the year on an Action Programme for offering faster, reliable rail transit.