I beg to move, That the Bill he now read the Third time.
The Bill is promoted by the Tyne and Wear passenger transport executive which operates the Tyne and Wear metro system. I have been asked to move this Third Reading by my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) who is the Opposition Deputy Chief Whip and who cannot carry out this important task because of his position. However, he has been most helpful in ensuring that the Bill has reached this stage.
The Bill will extend the metro system from the present terminus of the Bank foot branch to the Newcastle international airport. As well as serving the airport, the extension will provide park and ride facilities with a bus interchange which will increase the use of the metro system and reduce traffic congestion in Newcastle.
Since its opening a decade ago, the metro system has been most successful in meeting the transport requirements of the area and has contributed to the revitalisation of the local economy. This metro extension is essential to local and regional communications in the north-east and will provide the missing link between our air bridge to Europe and other parts of the United Kingdom and overseas, and a modern urban rail network serving the area directly and via connections at Newcastle Central station with British Rail's local and InterCity networks. The creation of the single European market and the opening of the Channel tunnel both emphasise the need for the highest possible quality of transport for our region.
As vice-chairman of the northern group of Labour Members, it gives me considerable pride to move this Third Reading, which I commend to the House.