HC Deb 27 February 1992 vol 204 cc1108-9
12. Mr. Clifford Forsythe

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to increase the funds allocated to roads maintenance in the next financial year.

Mr. Needham

It is planned to increase funding for the operation and maintenance of roads, and associated bridges, in the 1992–93 financial year by £3.2 million to £65.3 million.

Mr. Forsythe

Does the Northern Ireland Office keep a record of unadopted roads not covered by bonds? What progress has been made in bringing those roads up to condition?

Mr. Needham

I think that the hon. Gentleman's colleague, the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) came to see me about one of the cases to which he refers. All I can say is that the giving up of bonds on unadopted roads is not a matter with which I deal daily, but I shall certainly consider the cases that the hon. Gentleman brings to my attention and see what can be done.

Mr. Hume

Is the Minister aware that when the Unionist party governed Northern Ireland it concentrated heavily on developing the roads only in the eastern part of Northern Ireland? It did an outstanding job there, but the state of roads in the western part where there are areas of high unemployment such as Derry, Tyrone and Fermanagh—as exemplified by the Derry to Strabane road —are still in need of urgent development. Will the Department give priority to the development of those roads in future planning?

Mr. Needham

I sympathise with the hon. Gentleman's point. I assure him that the highest priority will be given to developing those roads, within the budget by which we are currently constrained.

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