HC Deb 19 April 1978 vol 948 cc420-1
1. Mr. Buchanan-Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now prepare definite proposals for a relief road for Montrose; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Frank McElhone)

My right hon. Friend's decision to transfer the trunk road to the inland route means that this will be a matter for Tayside Regional Council. A line for the relief road has still to be fixed.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Is the Minister aware that the reporter described the situation in Montrose as intolerable and recommended that the making of the order should be delayed for three years in order that an improvement to the relief road could be carried out? May we have an assurance, under the decision that the Secretary of State has taken, that when that improvement is carried out it will qualify for help from central Government funds, because it is something which is absolutely essential?

Mr. McElhone

I am aware of the difficulties in the Montrose area. My noble Friend who deals with roads on a day-to-day basis at the Scottish Office is prepared to increase capital expenditure guidelines for roads and transport to allow the regional council to construct an inner relief road. He will treat this expenditure as eligible for any assistance towards the cost of oil-related works which may be available at the time of construction.

Mr. Welsh

Is the Minister aware of the widespread disappointment in South Angus with his decision to de-trunk the Dundee-Arbroath A92 road, which is badly in need of upgrading and improvement? If the Minister's proposals for the north-east oil route are to be carried out, will he give a categorical guarantee that the Forfar bypass will be given maximum priority and an early starting date?

Mr. McElhone

In Montrose there has to be a new line, which goes through a substantial amount of private property. I do not think that the hon. Member would be the first to say that we should ride roughshod over private property. Compulsory purchase orders have to be obtained. I refer back to the question by the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith). As far as I know, my noble Friend is prepared to consider a meeting with the Tayside Regional Council on this matter.

Mr. Fairgrieve

In the light of this decision and because of the frustration about this road and the importance to the United Kingdom economy of the Aberdeen oil area, will the Minister consider making the road from Perth to Aberdeen, via Forfar, a dual carriageway?

Mr. McElhone

I shall convey that view to my noble Friend who deals with this matter.

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