HC Deb 31 October 2000 vol 355 c606
13. Mr. Tim Collins (Westmorland and Lonsdale)

When he last met the Royal Automobile Club to discuss road building. [133313]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Ms Beverley Hughes)

Ministers regularly meet the RAC foundation both bilaterally and in the context of the motorists forum. At those meetings various issues are discussed, including road building.

Mr. Collins

Is the Minister aware that the number one priority for RAC members and others in my constituency is the construction of the much needed A590 bypass at High and Low Newton? The Minister knows that the hon. Member for Barrow and Furness (Mr. Hutton) and I have made many representations to her on the matter. The bypass is supported by every tier of local government in the area. Will the Government give the area good news soon?

Ms Hughes

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has raised that point, because the road provides a good case study for contrasting the action—or non-action—of the previous Government with the action of the current Administration. He knows that a public inquiry approved the building of the road, and that it was included in the previous Government's wish list of 500 schemes in 1993. However, there were two priorities on that list—priority one was maybe; priority two was never. The road received priority two status.

The hon. Gentleman will be glad to know that the Government included the scheme in the programme that was initiated after the roads review. It was remitted to the regional planning conference for consideration of the environmental issues, which the hon. Gentleman will know about. The conference identified the scheme as of regional strategic significance and said that it should be implemented by 2010. Provided that that priority remains, the resources in the transport plan mean that it should be delivered.