East Fife Regional Road

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th March 1985.

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Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Central Fife 12:00 am, 13th March 1985

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he intends to take to expedite progress on the construction of the East Fife regional road; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Michael Ancram Michael Ancram Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scottish Office)

Every effort is being made to complete the East Fife regional road as quickly as possible. A contract for phase 2 has just been awarded and, provided funds are available, the remaining two phases will start as soon as the necessary statutory procedures are completed.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Central Fife

"Provided funds are available" is an ominous phrase. Will stages 3 and 4 be combined in one contract? How many objections are outstanding? What efforts is the Department making to satisfy those objections to avoid the possibility of holding a public inquiry, which will delay the project?

Photo of Michael Ancram Michael Ancram Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scottish Office)

Whether the two phases can go together depends partly on the availability of resources and partly on the statutory procedures being completed in both cases. There are seven unresolved objections to the draft road orders which were published last April. We are preparing draft compulsory purchase orders, which we hope will be published in the summer. If objections to those orders are lodged and not withdrawn, a public inquiry will obviously be required. As usual, my Department is making every effort to ensure that if the objections are resolvable without an inquiry, that will be done.

Photo of Mr Michael Hirst Mr Michael Hirst , Strathkelvin and Bearsden

Does my hon. Friend find it a curious contradiction that the Labour party in Fife should be in favour of a road which relieves local communities of traffic, whereas the labour party in Edinburgh is blindly and dogmatically opposed to the western relief road, which would bring considerable benefit to the whole of the western sector in Edinburgh?

Photo of Michael Ancram Michael Ancram Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scottish Office)

Obviously I cannot comment on the Edinburgh relief road. I am sure that the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) is aware that there has been a great deal of expenditure on roads in Fife. In the five years up to March 1984, £16·4 million was spent on trunk roads and £21 million was spent on local roads.

Photo of Mr Harry Gourlay Mr Harry Gourlay , Kirkcaldy

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that regional grants are a major attraction for industries corning to Fife? In view of the abolition of regional development grant assistance to Fife, will the hon. Gentleman do everything possible to expedite the construction of the East Fife regional road? Assuming that there are no objections to and no public inquiry into the compulsory purchase orders, will the hon. Gentleman assure us that the Department will take every opportunity to expedite the construction of the road?

Photo of Michael Ancram Michael Ancram Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scottish Office)

I hope that the hon. Gentleman is aware from what I have said that my Department and I regard this as an important road. Subject to the procedures being completed and to the availability of resources, the road will be completed as soon as possible.