My right hon. Friend has now received the report of the consulting engineers who have surveyed the possible alternative routes between Maidenhead and the Gloucestershire boundary. It will take some time to study it and to consult the major local authorities and other interested parties. We do not expect to be able to publish a draft scheme before the autumn of this year at the earliest. It is unlikely that construction could begin for at least a further three years. We certainly wish to press on with this motorway and my right hon. Friend will consider whether it would be possible to give priority to the construction of the western section. But we cannot reach a decision on this point until we have completed our study of the report and the necessary consultations.
Will my hon. and gallant Friend reach a conclusion as quickly as he can in view of the fact that the Wiltshire authorities are agreed among themselves where the road should run?
May I take it that the Ministry will resume consultations with the local authorities in Berkshire and Wiltshire, so far as that may be necessary, so that we may get a better meeting of minds than we have been able to achieve so far?