HL Deb 01 February 1999 vol 596 cc181-2WA
Lord Crickhowell

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Hayman on 20 May 1998 (WA 175–176), what is the latest estimate of the period of closure of the Severn Tunnel required for engineering works this summer; and what are the planned dates for the start and finish of this work; and [HL679]

What reporting they have asked for or received on the current condition of the Severn Tunnel, its drainage system and its rail track; and whether they will publish the results of those enquiries; and [HL680]

What is the estimated cost of the planned repairs to be carried out on the Severn Tunnel, its drainage system and its track; and what impact those costs are expected to have on the charges made to rail companies using the tunnel; and [HL681]

What estimate they have made of the likely additional costs falling on freight users as a result of the diversions made necessary by the planned closure of the Severn Tunnel this summer; and [HL682]

What consultations have taken place between Railtrack and the Government, the Welsh Development Agency, local authorities and representatives of business about the closure of the Severn Tunnel planned for this summer; and what assessment has been made of the impact of the closure on the Welsh economy. [HL683]

Lord Whitty

The maintenance and renewal of the Severn Tunnel is the responsibility of Railtrack. We understand that Railtrack plan to carry out repair work to the track and drainage systems through a series of weekend closures from 3 April-30 May. As part of its statutory duties, Railtrack is required to consult local authorities, utilities and other organisations likely to be affected by the closure of bridges or tunnels for essential engineering works. No assessment is made of the impact of such closures on the local economy.