HC Deb 03 February 1969 vol 777 cc5-6
18. Mr. Berry

asked the Minister of Transport how many miles of motorway were started and how many miles were completed in 1968.

Mr. Bob Brown

Work on site started on some 97½ miles during 1968 and contracts were awarded for a further 42½ miles shortly before the end of the year. Approximately 30 miles were completed.

Mr. Berry

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the total completed is even less than that forecast in February of last year? Can he give an assurance that the contracts now in operation can be coped with without any danger of shortage of materials, which could lead to delays and then to higher prices?

Mr. Brown

I cannot give any guarantee that no slippage will occur. No one can guarantee that.

Mr. John Lee

When will the M4 be completed? Can we be assured that there will be no delay in its completion?

Mr. Brown

If my hon. Friend cares to table a Question on that I will give him a reply.

Mrs. Thatcher

Why is the amount started and completed so far short of target? Is it because there was a major contribution by the Ministry of Transport to the reduction in public expenditure and the burden of falling public expenditure is falling on the motorist?

Mr. Brown

No, this is not so. There are many reasons for a slip in the planned programme for a scheme, not the least being those arising from the deep impact which road construction makes on people and on property. It has always been the policy that people's rights should be safeguarded and that their objections to new road proposals affecting them should be seriously and conscientiously considered. I am sure that the hon. Lady would not demur from this view.