HC Deb 24 April 2001 vol 367 c166
13. Mr. Stephen Day (Cheadle)

What plans he has for widening the M6 motorway. [157193]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Mr. Keith Hill)

I should point out that after years of confusion and delay under the previous Administration, work has now started on the Birmingham northern relief road. That road will relieve congestion on the M6 motorway through Birmingham between junctions 4 and 11.

However, I presume that the hon. Gentleman's primary concern is with the section of the M6 between Birmingham and Manchester. That transport corridor is at present the subject of a multimodal study that is looking into capacity problems and possible solutions, including scope for modal shift. Widening the M6 is certainly one of the options being considered. At this juncture I cannot comment further, as the study has yet to report

Mr. Day

The Minister gives no comfort whatever to my constituents, either about the M6 or about other schemes such as the Manchester airport eastern link road and the Poynton bypass, all of which the Government have put away into multimodal transport study schemes. People in the area want action. Congestion is solved by building the roads that have public support. Will the Minister please get them built?

Mr. Hill

If the hon. Gentleman and his constituents feel so passionately about these matters, I am rather surprised that they were not carried further forward under the previous Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "They were."] I am aware that there have been—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Let the Minister answer. The hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) should know better.

Mr. Hill

I am aware that there have been proposals at various stages of development for the widening of the M6 between junctions 11A and 19, and for the A556(M)/M6/M56 link, which have been remitted to the multimodal study. Work on phase 2 of the study is well under way, with a number of options under consideration including road schemes, metrolink, railbus, use of road space, and freight and transport charges. The steering group is engaged in consultations with local authority members to inform them of the initial results and to seek views and guidance on the development of the preferred strategy, which, as I have indicated, will be reported to the Government in due course.