HC Deb 17 March 1986 vol 94 cc20-1W
16. Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to publicise the implications for travellers of the construction of a Channel fixed link.

Mr. David Mitchell

It is for the Channel Tunnel Group-France-Manche as promoters of the scheme to publicise the implications for travellers.

CTG-FM has said it will provide an all-weather, no-booking shuttle service that will be significantly quicker than the existing ferry services across the Dover straits, as well as enabling through rail services to be operated by BR and SNCF.

40. Mr. Hayward

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has for the total value of investment in the United Kingdom which will result from the construction of the Channel fixed link.

46. Mr. Ron Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what he estimates will be the employment and economic benefits of the Channel tunnel project for regions other than the south-east.

Mr. David Mitchell

The basic cost of the CTG-FM project is estimated by the promoters at £2.6 billion, including construction, materials and equipment, split between the UK and France. CTG-FM has said that orders for about £800 million-worth of materials and equipment will be required on the UK side, and that large numbers of firms, predominantly outside the south-east, will be well-placed to compete for contracts. To this should be added, expenditure of up to £210 million by BR on rolling stock. Taking into account that materials and equipment will constitute more than half the total investment, I expect that the majority of jobs generated directly by the construction of the fixed link will be outside the south-east.

In the longer term British industry as a whole will benefit in its ability to compete from the more efficient transport to and from the continent that the tunnel will provide, in the form of better access to the large continental markets.

42. Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what further progress has been made with the promoters on the programme for constructing a Channel tunnel; and if he will make a statement.

Mr Ridley

The concession agreement between the United Kingdom Government, the French Government, the Channel Tunnel Group Limited and France-Manche SA was signed as of 14 March. It specifies that preliminary studies and preparatory works shall be carried out within three years of the agreement coming into force, breakthrough of the service tunnel will be made within seven years and construction will be completed within 10 years. The concessionaires' own timetable envisages the link coming into operation by 1993. Copies of the concession agreement will be placed in the Library.

43. Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to publicise the provisions of the treaty that the construction of the Channel fixed link will require no public funds.

Mr. David Mitchell

We shall publish shortly the concession agreement with the two companies which confirms and amplifies the position on public funds.

Mr. Couchman

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to ensure access for ferry operators to facilities such as customs and immigration clearance and direct motorway and express rail links of a standard equivalent to those to be provided for the operators of the fixed Channel link; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Mitchell

My aim is to ensure that road connections to ferry ports are of an appropriate standard to meet expected levels of traffic. Investment on improved rail links will need to meet the usual criteria for BR investment. Any investment within ports, on improved immigration and customs facilities, is a matter for the port authorities after consultation with the Government Departments concerned in the light of the foreseeable level of usage.