Build this port, says Mrs T
Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Conservative Shadow Minister of Transport, left Bristol on Saturday convinced of the viability of the port's expansion plans.
And she reaffirmed the Tories pledge to allow Bristol to go ahead and build a new deep water dock at Portbury, given by Mr. Edward Heath in March, 1966.
This would depend on there being little change in the country's economic circumstances.
“We all hope it will not be in any way detrimental to Bristol by the time we are in power again,” she said.
But she held out hope for the port, saying:
“If you have great faith in the scheme and are confident of its viability and are prepared to find the risk capital, then it is up to you.
“If the scheme is viable the way the test it is whether the people concerned are prepared to put up the capital to go ahead with it.”
Mrs. Thatcher said Bristol's ability to do this, convinced her that the Portbury project was sound.
She was speaking after a three-hour visit to the Port of Bristol which she saw from land, sea and air.
Seeing the dock installations from the Port of Bristol Authority's helicopter showed her how close the port really was to the country's motorway network.
The last date
The whole picture could never be gained from ground level, she said.
Mrs. Thatcher referred to the Government's threat to nationalise the ports.
She forecast that nationalisation could not come in until January, 1971. The last date for a general election is two months later, in March.
She thought it might not be too late for the Conservatives to undo nationalisation, if they came back to power at that General Election.
Earlier Mrs. Thatcher took a look at the North Somerset stretch of the A38 and expressed concern at the county's 1968 record death-roll.