HL Deb 14 January 1987 vol 483 cc628-9WA
Lord Sefton of Garston

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, following the reply of the Earl of Caithness to Lord Sefton of Garston of 26th November 1985, the Government are now prepared to give an estimate of likely costs to be incurred in improving or modifying any building, transport or any other infrastructure needed because of the construction of the Channel Tunnel; and whether the Government will give an estimate of the approximate cost of such infrastructure based upon previous experience in providing similar infrastructure.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

The costs of the Channel Tunnel itself, of the terminal and of access to the national road and rail networks will be borne by the developers and are a matter for Eurotunnel. A number of road improvements are planned for Kent. These are needed to cope with the continuing growth in traffic to the Continent which at present uses the Kent ports but will also use the tunnel when opened. The Department of Transport expects to spend at least £131 million (at second quarter 1986 prices) on improvements to the A.20 and M.20, which will become the prime route between London and the Channel ports and tunnel, as well as expenditure on smaller improvements to other trunk roads in Kent. Kent County Council have published plans for £46 million (at early 1986 prices) of improvements to local roads which they see as necessary to cope with traffic using the Channel Tunnel. They have accepted the Government's assurance that Transport Supplementary Grant (TSG) for road improvements made necessary by the tunnel would be additional to that for other schemes in the county's programme.

British Rail are planning to invest up to £390 million (at January 1985 prices) to operate passenger and freight services through the Channel Tunnel, and this will include track and terminal improvements as well as rolling stock. The finance will be raised from BR's own resources or from borrowing and the investment will be required to produce a commercial rate of return.