Roads Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th June 1980.

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Photo of Mr John Heddle Mr John Heddle , Lichfield and Tamworth 12:00 am, 25th June 1980

asked the Minister of Transport what response he has received to his White Paper, "Policy for Roads, England 1980".

Photo of Mr Keith Wickenden Mr Keith Wickenden , Dorking

asked the Minister of Transport if he has received any reaction to the White Paper on policy for roads.

Photo of Mr John Heddle Mr John Heddle , Lichfield and Tamworth

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?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Minister of State (Department for Transport)

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.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell:

In view of the importance placed in the White Paper on maintaining adequate road transport links with our ports, can the Minister say when he expects to make a decision on the M3 public inquiry, which took place about three years ago?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Minister of State (Department for Transport)

I understand the concern among hon. Members about that road. I hope that we shall be able to come to a decision on it shortly.

Photo of Mr Donald Thompson Mr Donald Thompson , Sowerby

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, while my constituents generally welcome the White Paper, they are still worried about the road that runs between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden and the planning blight attached to it? May we have an early decision in this matter?

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Norwich North

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?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Minister of State (Department for Transport)

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.

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

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?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Minister of State (Department for Transport)

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.