HC Deb 21 March 1994 vol 240 cc5-6
5. Mr. David Shaw

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to speed up the planning process for new and improved roads.

Mr. MacGregor

We are making good progress with the package of measures that I announced last summer. We are setting up the new Highways Agency in April and I hope to make an announcement about the review of the road programme soon. We are also consulting on changes to the inquiry rule; and two trial planning conferences have been held.

Mr. Shaw

May I express the grateful thanks of my constituents for the fantastic new road—the A20—which is dual carriageway all the way between Dover mid Perth? It has been of tremendous benefit to those working at the port, on the ferries and in the hovercraft industry. As that road has been so good to Dover, could not we speed up the process of making the A2 a dual carriageway as well?

Mr. MacGregor

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his remarks about the A20 and the effect of the A20, the M20 and the motorways thereafter, which benefit not only Dover, through its port, but businesses and individuals throughout the country. As to the A2, my hon. Friend may have in mind the Lydden to Dover improvement. The public consultation plan for 1993 was delayed, as the traffic and engineering issues proved more complex than anticipated. Consultants are continuing their work to identify a scheme that is acceptable in acceptable in environmental, engineering and economic terms.

Mr. Flynn

Has the Secretary of State seen the reports that there are 10,000 deaths every year from a previously unidentified source—particulate emission, known as PM10, from motor vehicle exhausts? That is in addition to the suffering caused by asthma and other health problems. Is not the insane rush for new roads being paid for by our children in premature deaths?

Mr. MacGregor

There is no insane rush for new roads. There is a determination to ensure that our road network enables businesses to be fully competitive and individuals to exercise their choice in sensible ways. One of the ways that is not sensible is for traffic to be constantly congested and almost at a halt, which is certainly environmentally unattractive. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we are doing everything that we can to improve emissions from vehicles to offset any adverse effects.

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