HC Deb 01 March 1978 vol 945 cc458-9
27. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give an approximate estimate of the total amount spent on inner urban roads in England and Wales during 1977.

Mr. William Rodgers

In 1977 £0.75 million was spent, in England, on one major inner urban trunk road scheme. I do not have such information for local authority roads.

Mr. Hooley

Will my right hon. Friend discourage local authorities, such as the South Yorkshire County Council, from embarking on a £1 million inner urban road scheme such as the Heeley bypass, which Sheffield does not want and to which the local residents are strongly opposed?

Mr. Rodgers

I have tried to discourage the South Yorkshire County Council on one occasion, and it was not very popular. My hon. Friend raises an awkward question about a local option. Under the structure of local government that we are obliged to deal with for the moment, I think that this is not an area in which I should seek to intervene

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

Will the right hon. Gentleman indicate whether he is in favour of inner relief roads, or whether he would prefer to see urban areas put forward projects for outer relief roads to take out of those areas heavy commercial traffic and all the pollution that it generates?

Mr. Rodgers

The hon. Gentleman puts his finger on the precise problem. Every urban area is different. It would be impossible for me or any other Minister to make detailed decisions of this sort about what might be appropriate in one place but not in another. These are arguments that have to be conducted at local level in the light not only of traffic but of environmental factors.