HC Deb 15 December 1971 vol 828 cc444-5
14. Mr. Dormand

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he intends to sanction for road improvements in Durham County.

Mr. Peter Walker

Schemes submitted by Durham County Council are still being assessed for possible inclusion in the next extension of the principal roads preparation list, which we expect to announce early next year. I cannot anticipate that announcement, but various schemes are being brought forward from the existing road programme that will be of benefit to Durham County Council.

Mr. Dormand

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the economic improvements resulting from the A1 motorway which goes through the centre of the county and the improved A19 which goes through my constituency on the east of the county would be considerably enhanced by the construction of an east-west link road? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that the Durham County Council has made this one of its top priorities, if not the top priority, in its proposals? If the right hon. Gentleman's statements about freedom for local authorities mean anything, should not be accept it? If he does not, will he not be spoiling the ship for a ha'porth of tar?

Mr. Walker

I cannot make announcements on the list of schemes, but I will give high priority to the North-East and regions like it on the most important road schemes that they put forward.