HC Deb 11 June 1990 vol 174 cc9-10
9. Mr. John Marshall

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about proposals to relieve congestion on the M25.

Mr. Atkins

We propose to widen the M25 to dual four lanes, and will announce our response to the consultants' report in the near future.

Mr. Marshall

Does my hon. Friend accept that merely to widen the M25 to four lanes is wholly inadequate and bears no relationship to future road flows? When can we look forward to an M25 relief road?

Mr. Atkins

My hon. Friend will realise the important difficulties relating to environmental matters, consequent to the previous question. There are enough of my hon. Friends sitting in the Chamber, not least the Secretary of State, whose constituents might have views on widening the M25 beyond four lanes. However, I appreciate the point about congestion, and we are treating congestion on the M25, as well as on many other motorways, as a matter of urgency.

Mr. Tony Banks

Has not the M25 become a standing joke—almost literally in traffic terms—and a sort of circular car lot? Would not it be better if the Government, instead of looking at ways of taking up more space by widening this monstrous road which is not working, put more money into the transport infrastructure of railways within the M25 area to relieve congestion on that road?

Mr. Atkins

How dare the hon. Gentleman suggest that the M25 is monstrous? There are plenty of people in this part of the south-east of England who thank God for it, in terms of —[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Mr. Atkins. [HON. MEMBERS: "Blasphemy."] Order.

Mr. Atkins

—in terms of the relief given to nearby villages and towns by removing congestion from them. Ironically the M25 is a victim of its own success, which is why we shall widen it to four lanes and why a great deal of attention is being given to it. The hon. Gentleman ought to reflect on the success that is the M25.