May I ask my hon. Friend to give very sympathetic consideration to Lancashire's next local transport plan if it includes the completion of the Penwortham bypass, and will she also consider approving more than one scheme under that plan? Doing so would enable a large local authority such as Lancashire to enjoy the same benefits as smaller local authorities, which can get one scheme approved for every local transport plan.
In fact, Lancashire county council can submit as many bids for major local transport plan projects as it wishes, but what we do ask is that it set priorities for those schemes. I understand that it has consulted on a number of major schemes for inclusion in the second local transport plan, and that the completion of the A59 Penwortham bypass—a £20 million project—is included. But it is for Lancashire county council to introduce this proposal and to make bids. As it is the current local transport authority of the year, I am sure that it will do so very well.
May I support my hon. Friend Mr. Borrow in the case that he makes for the Penwortham bypass? I can assure the Minister that it will ease the pressure not just on South Ribble, but on the Chorley constituency and on the beautiful villages of Croston, Maudsley and Bretherton, for example. They need this bypass because of the number of heavy vehicles that use that historic part of Chorley as a short-cut.
I can assure my hon. Friend that nothing would give me greater pleasure than to relieve pressure on Chorley, but as I said, it is for Lancashire county council to make this bid. As I understand it, the proposal will form part of the local transport plan, although the question of funding may not be considered until at least 2010. Of course, I cannot give any commitment on the funding situation at that time. We will consider the bid on its merits when it is made.