§ Mr. Squire
asked the Secretary of State for Transport why the guidelines for the four shortlisted schemes for the construction of the third River Thames crossing at Dartford have been substantially changed in the letter from his Department to the promoters dated 21 July.
§ Mr. Moore
In my reply to the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Proctor) on 8 July, column 116, giving the four schemes from three promoters which had been shortlisted for the construction of the new crossing at Dartford, I said that I had to satisfy myself about certain technical and financial aspects of their proposals. The Department's letter of 21 July is part of that process.
The letter amplifies the guidelines by dealing with some matters which became apparent during our consideration of the promoters' bids, but had not been explicitly addressed in the guidelines. It invites promoters to revise their proposals so that we can compare them as far as possible on a standard basis to incorporate certain safety features we regard as essential, to clarify the financial basis and to take account of some relaxation in the Port of London Authority requirements for navigation clearances for bridge height and the depth of immersed tubes in the river bed. All four schemes are affected by these matters in different ways. We reserved the right in the guidelines to require changes in promoters' proposals if we thought that they were necessary.
The issue of this letter will not delay appreciably my decision on a scheme.