A5 Trunk Road

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:13 pm on 5th November 1997.

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Photo of Glenda Jackson Glenda Jackson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Environment) 1:13 pm, 5th November 1997

I shall certainly consider the concerns that the hon. Gentleman has expressed. I knew that part of the road on the Welsh side of the border well as a child, and resentment was clearly felt then on the Welsh side about what was perceived to be unfair expenditure in Wales.

Before I touch on the specific issues regarding the A5, it might be helpful if I explain how the roads review fits into the overall thrust of the Government's transport policies. We are working to develop an integrated transport policy, which provides the immediate context for the roads review. The backdrop to this fundamental review of transport policy is a candid recognition of the fact that we cannot carry on as at present. The predicted growth of traffic and the consequent congestion are unsustainable, and the environmental, economic and social implications are totally unacceptable.

However, the appropriate response cannot be simply to hack away once again at the roads programme without taking any other action. We need to take a much broader view, looking at all modes and using broadly based criteria to assess schemes. One of the encouraging aspects of what is a hugely ambitious task is the degree to which there is agreement that we do need to change.

We need to look at the role of the motor vehicle in providing mobility in a more integrated transport system: one which makes the best use of the contribution that each mode can make; which ensures that all options are considered on a basis that is fair and is seen to be fair; and which takes safety—an essential part of the hon. Gentleman's contribution—environmental, economic, accessibility and integration considerations into account from the outset. It should do that in a way which ensures that we can have confidence in the system and which, above all, is sustainable. That is the context for the roads review. It is an integral part of our integrated transport policy. It is about the role that trunk roads should play alongside other modes in an integrated and sustainable transport policy.