HC Deb 21 March 1994 vol 240 cc6-7
6. Mr. Burns

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the future of road building in England.

Mr. Key

My right hon. Friend intends to announce the results of his review of the road programme shortly.

Mr. Burns

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has given such joy and pleasure to the constituents of my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw), will my hon. Friend the Minister give equal joy to my constituents? Will he ensure that a statement is made before we rise for Easter so that my constituents and those of my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) can discover whether the unloved—indeed, the hated—proposed M12 from the M25 to Chelmsford will be ditched, thus ending the uncertainty and the blight of the green belt around that area?

Mr. Key

It is not surprising that my hon. Friend is so much loved in his constituency given that he makes such powerful representations. I must not pre-empt the outcome of the review by commenting on individual schemes. I hope that we shall be able to announce the result of the review before Easter.

Mr. Harvey

Does the Minister agree with the Secretary of State for the Environment that we cannot continue to see the number of motor cars increasing so that life becomes dominated by them? Does he agree also that the car should be our servant and not our master? Does the hon. Gentleman accept that building roads leads to increased traffic? Will he introduce a comprehensive White Paper on all aspects of transport policy and use it as the foundation for a concerted transport policy?

Mr. Key

It goes without saying that there is not a chink of light between us on these issues. That was demonstrated last week by our announcement in planning policy guidance note 13. Unfortunately, the hon. Gentleman has missed the point. The problems lie not with the stock of cars but with the journeys that they make, the times of day when those journeys are made, their purpose and the standards of emissions. Those are the important matters. If the hon. Gentleman reads the Transport Report of 1994, which was published 10 days ago, he will learn that there is no need for us to publish yet another paper to make that point.

Mr. Haselhurst

Does my hon. Friend accept that there is an urgent need to clarify whether an outer orbital road leading west from the Al20 through Essex and Hertfordshire will be built as there is considerable apprehension in villages in my constituency and others in west Essex and Hertfordshire about the destruction that such a road could cause?

Mr. Key

Yes, I do.

Mr. Dobson

Will the Minister say now what proportion of the present road building plans will be abandoned and how many will be deferred?

Mr. Key

No. I cannot pre-empt the review that my right hon. Friend will seek to conclude before Easter.

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