HC Deb 27 June 1983 vol 44 cc336-8
11. Sir Raymond Gower

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement giving details of the preparation pool of new road works in Wales, in relation to schemes for which his Department is responsible.

Mr. John Stradling Thomas

"Roads in Wales 1983" published on 10 May gave full details of all trunk road schemes in Wales costing over £1 million, including schemes in preparation. A copy has been sent to my hon. Friend.

Sir Raymond Gower

In what part of Wales is the greatest concentration of new roads likely for which my hon. Friend's Department is responsible? Will he refer expressly to one or two major new projects, for the guidance of the House?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

As my hon. Friend will be aware, the greatest emphasis at the moment is in north Wales, where both the Bangor bypass and the Colcon development are in progress. "Roads in Wales 1983" gives details of where the concentration will be in future and is subject to review from time to time.

Dr. Roger Thomas

Why is the Carmarthen eastern bypass receiving such a low priority in the preparation pool?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

While the priorities in "Roads in Wales 1983" are not immutable, they are the product of careful consideration, which has taken into account not only the resources available but the time required to complete the necessary statutory procedures. Even when a case can be made for adjusting priorities there is usually only limited room for manoeuvre. I have already revised the priorities substantially, in order to bring forward more bypass schemes which will keep heavy lorries out of our towns. That, I am sure, will be acceptable to all hon. Members.

12. Sir Anthony Meyer

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is satisfied that contracts for the construction of new trunk roads in Wales make sufficient provision for the preservation and improvement of the environment in the vicinity of the roads in question.

Mr. Stradling Thomas

Yes, I am satisfied that adequate attention is paid to the preservation of the environment in trunk road contracts in Wales. Contracts for improvement and new construction place strict limits on noise levels and confine vehicles and plant to the more acceptable routes. Particular attention is also paid to landscaping and planting. Permanent noise insulation is provided for houses in the vicinity in accordance with the noise insulation regulations.

Sir Anthony Meyer

I thank my hon. Friend for his full reply. None the less, is he aware that although the road improvements at Colwyn Bay may turn out to be well landscaped, it is felt that the approaches to the road, especially where the end of existing streets are cut off, will look like the Berlin Wall if we are not careful?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

I have noted my hon. Friend's point and I shall take a careful look at the matter.

Mr. Wardell

When new road works take place, or when works on existing roads are carried out, will the Secretary of State ensure that they are closely monitored so that advance warning signs are displayed in line with chapter VIII of the road traffic manual, to avoid the possibility of serious and fatal accidents?

Mr. Stradling Thomas

I shall certainly take up that matter with my officials to ensure that road safety has the highest priority, which of course it should have.

Sir Raymond Gower

In considering the construction of new trunk roads, and indeed all roads in Wales and in the whole of the United Kingdom, will my hon. Friend bear in mind that one of our saddest defects compared with other European countries is the lack of proper parking places? Is he aware of the great need for reasonable parking space along motorways and trunk roads throughout the United Kingdom? When one travels abroad one realises how poor is the provision in this country.

Mr. Stradling Thomas

We are endeavouring, particularly on the M4, to provide service areas. There have been difficulties, but I recently opened one which I think will be a great success. I have, of course, noted my hon. Friend's point. I think he was referring not only to service areas but to other parking facilities.