HC Deb 27 January 1970 vol 794 cc1197-9
26. Mr. J. H. Osborn

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will now make a further statement about a motorway link between Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool.

51. Mr. Hooley

asked the Minister of Transport when he expects to publish the findings of the study on trans-Pennine road traffic.

Mr. Mulley

I understand that the final report on the Sheffield—Manchester project feasibility study will be completed within the next few weeks. When I have examined the recommendation I will announce the preferred route and details of the scheme on which advanced preparation work will continue.

Beyond Manchester the route of the M62 Motorway has now been fixed as far as Tarbock, on the outskirts of Liverpool.

Mr. Osborn

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any idea when he will be able to make this statement? Is he aware that we have waited a long time and there have been a lot of delays?

Mr. Mulley

I cannot give a date when I can confirm the final judgment on a scheme that has not yet been submitted to me. I shall naturally want time to have it thoroughly examined. I can assure the hon. Member that this does not add any period of delay to the subsequent building of a road, if it is approved, because the preparatory scheme will in any event take a considerable time.

Mr. Hooley

In considering the findings of this study would my right hon. Friend pay special attention to the dangers which may accrue to the Peak National Park through the siting on the nature of construction of trans-Pennine roads?

Mr. Mulley

I shall as always try to pay the fullest attention to the amenity aspect. It is because of these difficulties that the study is taking rather longer than was envisaged and why we asked for a feasibility study to be conducted.

Mr. Fortescue

As Liverpool is still the largest export port in this country would not the Minister agree that this motorway should be given priority above others in the schemes of his Department?

Mr. Mulley

I do not think that I can allocate priorities on road schemes to hon. Members at Question Time. This would probably lead, in one afternoon, to the earmarking of road building funds for a considerable period ahead. We have to try to weigh up the economic and social factors and work out priorities on that basis.

Mr. Crawshaw

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the urgency of this problem for Liverpool lies in the fact that a new tunnel is nearing completion? Does he realise that there is a whole length of motorway leading to nowhere? Does he intend to get this motorway going within our lifetime? It does not appear that it will get on to the book.

Mr. Mulley

A considerable number of new roads have been built in the NorthWest—I opened a 13-mile stretch of motorway quite recently. At this time I could not hope to give a large list of such schemes, but I will see that my hon. Friend gets one.