Road Embankments (Landscaping)

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10 February 1997.

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Photo of Mr Robert Banks Mr Robert Banks , Harrogate 12:00, 10 February 1997

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to improve the landscaping of motorway and dual carriageway road embankments. [13356]

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

Existing guidance on the landscape treatment of new schemes is set out in the "Good Roads Guide" and is kept under constant review. New guidance on the landscape management of roadside planting is in preparation. Landscape treatments were addressed recently in the Highways Agency's environmental strategy document, "Living with Roads".

Photo of Mr Robert Banks Mr Robert Banks , Harrogate

I thank my hon. Friend for his reply. Does he agree that even more should be done to improve the landscaping of embankments along our motorways and dual carriageways, and that we can learn a great deal from schemes that have been completed in other countries? Specifically, will he ensure that the embankments along the new motorway sections of the Al are imaginatively landscaped with trees, shrubs and features? Moreover, will he instigate a competition among architects, landscape designers and sculptors to redesign the approach road from Heathrow into the capital city so that we can at least impress our visitors? It would be a stimulus for sculptors to put some of their work on public display.

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that tree and shrub planting along the A 1(M) Walshford-Dishforth improvement section has started this planting season. The remaining tree and shrub planting will take place as soon as possible following completion of the remaining engineering works. We take special care to choose native species of trees and shrubs to enhance the landscape through which our roads are built.

Regarding the approaches to London, my hon. Friend will have noticed significant work on the A4 corridor between Chiswick and Hammersmith, and I invite him to accompany me or my hon. Friend the Minister for Transport in London to inspect those works.