Mr. Jim Callaghan
asked the Minister of Transport if he will give the date on which he will announce a decision as to the route chosen for the proposed extension of the M66.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Today I have carefully examined whether the Department should continue with the scheme. A new road from Middleton to Denton, along with the projected Denton to Port-wood section, would complete Manchester's outer ring road. The overall benefits that we expect are considerable. Many of the main roads on that side of the conurbation are narrow and of low standard—inadequate for present-day traffic. There are houses, shops, schools and factories along them. There is delay at major junctions, and conditions are bound to deteriorate as traffic grows. A new road would help industry by improving access and would remove heavy lorries from roads which were never designed to take them. I therefore believe there is a real need for a new road.
I have chosen the purple route from Middleton to Hollinwood; the green route through Hollinwood and the blue route south of Hollinwood as far as Daisy Nook—the route which was the public's preference at the consultation. I am concerned, however, about some of the environmental problems and adverse effects on residents posed by the southern section of the blue route. Modifications, about which the public will be consulted soon, are therefore being considered to the section from Daisy Nook, near the River Medlock, to the M67 interchange near Denton station. The combination of routes chosen is, in my judgment, the 181W best because it has less serious effects on property and the local environment.