May I thank my right hon. Friend for including in the recent White Paper the green light enabling Tamworth to receive its long overdue bypass, by way of the M42? However, does he agree that it is still essential, from a conservationist and environmental point of view, that heavy traffic be taken away from such centres and that he should continue to give top priority to the construction of bypasses?
I am grateful for my hon. Friend's recognition of the progress that is being made on the M42 south of Birmingham. I agree that we should make as much progress as we can on bypasses. I would expect the balance to change in future from motorway and major trunk road building to much more emphasis on bypasses, for exactly the sort of reasons that my hon. Friend put forward.
Is the Minister aware, from his visit to Norfolk and Norwich at the weekend, that there is great dissatisfaction among business interests, those concerned with tourism and traffic to the ports and others about the delay on dates for the improvement of the A11 and A47, compared with the dates set by the previous Government in 1978?
The right hon. Gentleman is talking nonsense. The dates set out by the previous Government in the 1978 roads White Paper bore no relation to the resources that would be available and were entirely theoretical dates. Having seen the position in Norfolk for myself I understand the concern that he and other Norfolk Members have expressed, particularly on the All and the A47.
In view of the importance that the Minister has said that he attaches to bypasses in connection with the White Paper, will he reconsider his decision to postpone the Dalton bypass in my constituency? Will he concede that the other improvements to the A590, important as they are, will merely worsen the position of Dalton as a traffic bottleneck and will bring about considerable problems for the residents of that area?
I shall certainly look at that point. There is no way is which I shall be able to fit all the bypasses that we all know ought to be built in this country into the programme for the next four years. We are spending more than was spent during the last two years of the previous Government, because we have managed to eradicate the problem of underspending which delayed so much in those years.