HC Deb 10 June 1996 vol 279 cc13-4
13. Mr. Michael Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to introduce toll roads. [30613]

Mr. Watts

Our policy remains as set out by the then Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Norfolk (Mr. MacGregor), in December 1993. The assessment of available technology and systems will provide the basis on which to decide when to go ahead with motorway charging and, at an appropriate time, we will introduce the necessary legislation for Parliament to consider.

Mr. Brown

Does my hon. Friend agree that toll roads offer the opportunity of increased private investment in roads, particularly for bypassing large cities? Does he accept that there is still a demand, notwithstanding the green lobby, for towns and cities to be bypassed? Given that the Treasury may not always be forthcoming with the necessary funds, does my hon. Friend agree that toll roads offer the opportunity of taking traffic out of our towns and cities?

Mr. Watts

My hon. Friend is entirely right to say that there is a continuing demand for bypasses to relieve towns and villages. Privately promoted toll roads, for which there is already legislative provision, may be one of the ways of meeting that demand.

Ms Hodge

Will the Minister confirm that the A 13 through my constituency will be a shadow toll road to enable the upgrading of that road to take place?

Mr. Watts

There are several schemes on the A13, some of which will be taken forward as part of a proposed design, build, finance and operate scheme and others that will be part of a conventionally funded programme. All the schemes relating to the A 13 remain in the main road programme.