HC Deb 18 May 2004 vol 421 c813
8. Mr. David Cameron (Witney) (Con)

What forecasts he has received about traffic levels on the A34 and A40; and if he will make a statement. [173500]

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

There are currently two studies looking at the A34 between the M40 and the south coast. Those are a strategic review of the Highways Agency's programme of works for the A34 and a scoping study by the regional planning body and Government office for the south-east to decide how to address the wider role of transport in the area. Average flows on the A34 in 2003 were approximately 34,000 vehicles each way. The hon. Gentleman will know that the A40 around Oxford is currently the responsibility of Oxfordshire county council.

Mr. Cameron

I am grateful for that answer, but will the Minister ensure that the review of the A34 that he mentioned includes the single carriageway stretch of the A40 between Witney and Oxford? Is he aware that that road has some of the worst jams in the south of England every morning and every evening? Is he further aware that the transport network review being carried out by Oxfordshire county council is predicting that traffic volumes on that stretch of road could increase by another 20 to 25 per cent? Does he understand that that could turn it into a giant car park, as a result of which the whole west Oxfordshire economy would grind to a halt? Given that the county council is now considering the option of widening the road, will he ensure that his Department stands ready to fund this much-needed project?

Mr. Jamieson

As has been pointed out to the hon. Gentleman in the past, the A34 is the responsibility of the Highways Agency and we are undertaking an appropriate study of that particular road to establish what improvements need to be made. I am also aware that Oxfordshire county council is undertaking a review of its own roads, but I am not as yet aware of any application to the Department for funding under local transport plans. The hon. Gentleman will know—he was told on a previous occasion—that earlier proposals for the dulling of the A40 were turned down by the Tory Government in 1994.