East Thames River Crossings

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:51 pm on 18th November 1994.

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Photo of Mr Steven Norris Mr Steven Norris , Epping Forest 2:51 pm, 18th November 1994

Given the limited time, I shall pass on to one or two important issues.

The third crossing at Blackwall is, indeed, a difficult proposition. The difference between the tunnel and the bridge is that the tunnel costs about £80 million more and, unfortunately, provides only two lanes of traffic, whereas the bridge provides four. It is clear that the bridge is extremely intrusive on the north side and it is also clear that British Gas has many reservations about its intrusion on the south side. We want to try to find an alternative, but I am loth to see the tunnel as an alternative simply because it is a rather inadequate solution. We shall need to press further on an all-party basis on that.

On the Cutty Sark station, it is simply a question of looking at £14 million, which is more than all the other station costs put together. That must be set against the fact that Island Gardens and Greenwich stations are on either side of the Cutty Sark and that each is about 700 yd from it. It is the sensible project management that has to go into making tough decisions which will shape that project. The important point is that Greenwich will be on the DLR map. Greenwich is what tourists recognise and Greenwich is where people will go.

The consultation document, which we hope to issue shortly, will stimulate, I hope, exactly the kind of constructive exchange that we have had to date both north and south of the river, recognising as it does that this is a problem that we all have in seeking to regenerate the local community. I echo the hon. Gentleman's words in that I have enjoyed an extremely co-operative relationship with Len Duvall of Greenwich council and with many of his colleagues. I look forward to that continuing. I am heartened by the co-operative sense in which people both north and south of the river are prepared to look at these issues. I promise the hon. Gentleman that there will be no shortage of co-operation on my part in endeavouring to see this through to a successful—

The motion having been made at half-past Two o'clock and the debate having continued for half an hour, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned at Three o'clock.