HC Deb 07 July 1998 vol 315 cc857-8
32. Mrs. Jacqui Lait (Beckenham)

When he plans to announce the results of the roads review. [47654]

The Minister of Transport (Dr. Gavin Strang)

We will announce the outcome of the roads review following the publication of the integrated transport White Paper later this month.

Mrs. Lait

I am grateful to the Minister for saying that the results will be announced later this month. Can he confirm that the matter will come before the House before we rise for the summer recess, although it will be towards the end of our Session? No doubt the right hon. Gentleman will then confirm that there will be cuts in the roads programme—another broken Labour promise, despite the Government's assurance before the general election that they would provide a better network of roads in Britain.

Dr. Strang

If the hon. Lady will await publication of both the White Paper on integrated transport strategy and the report on the roads review—which will certainly be before the House rises—all her questions will be answered.

Mr. Clive Efford (Eltham)

Will my hon. Friend, in considering the review, take on board the issue of land adjacent to major road developments, and the contribution that such land can make to the environment? In my constituency, the Rochester Way relief road is adjacent to attractive land that is next to a wildlife conservation area. However, repeated requests have been refused by his Department to make that adjacent land part of the wildlife conservation area. Will he consider the financial and environmental implications of allowing land tracts to be used in such a manner? That use may produce savings for his Department.

Dr. Strang

I certainly agree with my hon. Friend that we want to take all reasonable opportunities to encourage biodiversity and to support improvement of the countryside and of general amenity. I am not aware of the position on the specific piece of land that he mentioned in his constituency, but I shall look into the matter and write to him about it.

Mrs. Teresa Gorman (Billericay)

Is the Minister aware of the very many jumbo lorries that travel each day from cities—such as London—and from Kent to my constituency, to dump domestic waste and other rubbish in landfill sites? Has he noticed the filthy verges that line the roadways because of that traffic? Does he agree that he could have a word with his friends in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and insist that towns, such as London, and parts of Kent, incinerate their own rubbish or else dump it in their own backyard?

Dr. Strang

The hon. Lady demonstrates the extent to which people's standards are—quite rightly—rising. They want a higher quality of life, and are much more critical of the type of pollution that she mentioned. Part of our policy has to be to integrate land use planning with our transport objectives. Part of achieving that objective is to reduce the need for the type of journeys that she described.