HC Deb 24 May 1995 vol 260 cc888-9
4. Mrs. Ray Michie

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received on the detrunking of roads in rural areas of Scotland. [24225]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Sir Hector Monro)

My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations on the detrunking of roads in rural Scotland, particularly in response to the recent consultation exercise "Shaping the Trunk Road Network". The Government's response was published on 27 April.

Mrs. Michie

Has not the Minister rejected many of the representations made to him about roads in rural Scotland—in particular, those from Argyll and Bute and from Strathclyde—concerning the determination to detrunk the road between Lochgilphead and Ballachuilish? The road serves the requirements set out in the Minister's document for the trunk road network relating to industry, commerce, agriculture and tourism. Will he assure us that the new Argyll and Bute council will have the funds that are required to maintain the road and to build along the long-awaited and long-promised Creagan bridge?

Sir Hector Monro

The hon. Lady has raised a number of points. The Creagan bridge project is still under consideration. Naturally, I expect the new council to have adequate funds to fulfil its responsibilities—bearing in mind the Government's position at the time in relation to the block grant.

The hon. Lady mentioned the detrunking of a certain road in her constituency, particularly between Campbeltown and Ballachuilish. The main road from Lochgilphead is trunked to the national network, as are the roads to Oban and Fort William. We believe that the road linking those three towns independently should be the responsibility of the local authority. Councils are always wanting further responsibility, and this is a very good chance for them to undertake it.

Mr. Gallie

I welcome the Government's response to the most recent consultation paper on the trunk road system. I am especially pleased that, for the first time, the A70 southern route to the A74/M74 is shown as a real possibility. What progress has been made by the "access to Ayrshire" group, which is considering the matter? Will my hon. Friend also comment on the progress currently being made on the upgrading of the A77 to motorway standard?

Sir Hector Monro

I assure my hon. Friend that we shall never forget the roads in Ayrshire while he is such an effective Member of Parliament for the Ayr constituency. Naturally, we are continuing the consultations on a link road to the M74. That will be an important decision when it comes, as will be the decision on further progress in upgrading the road from Glasgow to Ayrshire.