HC Deb 11 June 1990 vol 174 c9
7. Mr. Ian Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road schemes are currently in preparation; and how many of those are in Dorset.

Mr. Atkins

A total of 472 trunk road schemes are currently in preparation, of which 11 are in Dorset.

Mr. Bruce

Will my hon. Friend find time in his busy calendar to come to Dorset to look at the appalling roads there? I understand that he did not find time in his busy programme to come down, but I hope that he can confirm that it was not the terrible tales that I have been telling him about how long it would take him to get there that put him off.

Mr. Atkins

My hon. Friend will know full well that it was through no fault of my own that the visit to Hardy country, which I was looking forward to, was delayed. He will know that both he and my hon. Friends the Members for Dorset, North (Mr. Baker) and for Dorset, West (Sir J. Spicer) place substantial pressure on me to ensure that the roads in Dorset are kept up to their present high standard—of course, they are always capable of improvement.

Mr Cohen

Why is it that when the Government consider roads in Dorset, they at least give some consideration to the environment, yet when they consider roads in urban areas such as Leyton, they do not give a toss about the environment, housing or people there?

Mr. Atkins

The hon. Gentleman has an unfortunate turn of phrase. I know that if he reflects on those matters he will realise just how much attention my Department gives to the environment and that, just because I am where I am, it does not mean that I have lost my interest in and concern for environmental matters, in whatever part of the country. The Landscape Advisory Committee takes a great deal of interest in where the roads will go and in their effects on the local—and urban—environment. I hope that the hon. Gentleman, on reflection, will withdraw his implied slur on my efficiency.