HC Deb 20 July 2004 vol 424 cc150-1
13. Sir Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield) (Con)

If he will assess the effects on Cheshire of the proposed M6 toll road; and if he will make a statement. [184927]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. David Jamieson)

The consultation document "M6: giving motorists a choice" seeks views at this stage on the broad concept of a tolled expressway alongside the existing M6. The document makes it clear that before decisions are taken, a careful assessment will be made of the wider social, economic and environmental impacts of any potential scheme, including the section of the route running through Cheshire.

Sir Nicholas Winterton

I am very grateful to the Minister for that helpful reply, which will reassure the people of Cheshire. He will know that the north Birmingham relief motorway has been a great success because of the care that went into its design and the chosen line of route. Will he assure me and the people of Cheshire that, if this new road proceeds, the same care will be shown with the line of route, and that environmentally sensitive areas and the environment as a whole will be taken into account? I hope that it does proceed, because we need this express motorway. I support the toll road concept.

Mr. Jamieson

The hon. Gentleman mentions the success of the M6 toll scheme. For all the other projects undertaken by the Highways Agency, too, a very careful assessment of the environmental impact is undertaken. The M6 toll has been a success: the original M6 is much quieter than it was before. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that standards are improving all the time. When we undertake consultation on the road that he mentioned, the impact on the environment and on people will be foremost in our minds.