My constituents no doubt will be grateful, after waiting so long for this crumb of comfort, that their bypass is at least included, but inevitably there will be some disappointment that it has such a delayed classification. Will my hon. and learned Friend undertake to expedite matters, as far as he can, for the provision of the bypass before the traffic thundering down the picturesque Buntingford High Street finally shatters the listed buildings that flank it, and the sensibilities of my constituents who live and work there?
I am glad to be able to reassure my right hon. and learned Friend that the bypass has not been deferred in any way. It remains in the main programme for 1984 onwards and that is the only practicable estimate of time that we could put upon it. It may appear to be deferred because the date, like that for many other schemes, is somewhat later than that in the last Government's White Paper. That is because that White Paper was full of over-optimistic dates, setting out targets for specific schemes that could not be achieved. Buntingford is being proceeded with as quickly as possible and it has not been deferred in any way.
Since the Government's policy is to give greater priority to motorways than bypasses—which will aggravate the problems for many towns—will he be sympathetic to any restrictions placed on traffic going into those areas?
I refute entirely the suggestion contained in some newspaper reports that we are giving priority to motorways as opposed to bypasses. We have inherited important major schemes, such as the M25 around London, which are taking a large proportion of the funds over the next few years. Our change of policy and change of emphasis is to bring forward more bypasses of historic towns and villages, and as we get the major motorway programmes behind us, that will be the emerging pattern of road construction in the future.
I do not have to tell my hon. Friend, whose constituency is involved, that this is an extremely difficult inquiry giving rise to a difficult decision. But we expect a decision very soon.