§ 3. Mr. Sumberg
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received in relation to the proposed Greater Manchester northern and western relief road; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Minister for Roads and Trafffic (Mr. Christopher Chope)
In addition to the representation made my hon. Friends the Members for Bury, South (Mr. Sumberg) and for Bury, North (Mr. Burt), 130 written representations have been received about the M62 to M66 section of the planned relief road.
§ Mr. Sumberg
Next Monday's meeting of SWARM, the motorway action group dedicated to opposing that development, will emphasise the widespread concern felt by my constituents because the Department of Transport has still not announced whether the relief road will go ahead or what route it will take. Will my hon. Friend put my constituents out of their misery by making an early announcement about the route, or, better still, that he intends to abandon the project altogether?
§ Mr. Chope
The delay in introducing the scheme is an indication of the amount of care that Department of Transport officials are taking. That is particularly so in 5 respect of the route's environmental sensitivity. I cannot promise my hon. Friend that we will introduce proposals for public consultation before next year.
§ Mr. Churchill
Although my constituents in Manchester Davyhulme do not oppose the concept of the road, as my hon. Friend will be aware they are strenously opposed to the proposed blue route. Will my hon. Friend give some sign as to when public consultation will begin? Is there to be a public inquiry?
§ Mr. Chope
There is no proposed route—we are still preparing for public consultation which will start next year. I am glad that my hon. Friend agrees that there is a need for some relief to the existing road because it carries about 140,000 vehicles a day. Improvements to it are a key to future prosperity in the north-west.