Will not the whole of this sum be completely wasted if the Cambrian Coast railway line and other railway lines in Wales are closed before Graham Rees reports in 1975? What is the point of spending this money when strategic decisions affecting the future of transport in Wales will have been taken years earlier?
As I have said before, this is an independent and long-term study which is being undertaken for the Welsh Council. It is intended that it should be a wide-ranging and comprehensive assessment of the transport needs of Wales as a whole. For that reason I believe that the money will be well spent.
As for the other part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, he will appreciate that no decision affecting the future of any railway service in Wales is taken without the most careful consideration of all the relevant facts and arguments, and those would include points put forward by the Welsh Council, which would be able to take account of matters emerging from the research study.
Is it not important for the transport system of Wales that the Government should announce that there will be no passenger or freight line closure until the study has been computed and the proposals made public for the people of the Principality? I have in mind a freight line in my constituency which runs between Carmarthen and Newcastle Emlyn. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman look at that?
This is a point which has been put to me by various bodies, especially those concerned with railway closures. I can give no assurance about policy decisions on specific services being delayed until the research team's report has been completed. I remind the hon. Gentleman of what I said to his hon. Friend the Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan).
In view of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's last reply, may I ask what will happen if a railway line in Wales is closed in the next two or three years and then the committee reports that the line should have remained open?