§ Mr. Neubert
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will announce the result of the public consultation on the proposed East London river crossing.
§ Mr. David Howell
The scheme which I have selected to be developed for the new East London river crossing is the one put forward at the public consultation in October 1981, incorporating alternative alignment Y in the Wickham Lane area and a new alignment slightly to the east of alternative alignment B in the area of Oxleas Wood.
In reaching my decision I have given careful consideration to the views of the elected local authorities and just over 1,000 members of the public who completed a questionnaire on the scheme. The line chosen at Wickham lane requires more properties to be demolished, but is better in environmental terms: it was the alternative favoured by the majority of those who responded on this part of the scheme at public consultation. At Oxleas Wood strong views were expressed in favour of keeping as large an area as possible of the wood undisturbed: by moving the line further to the east I have sought to achieve this.
A detailed statement of the results of the consultation has been placed in the Library. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State will also make presentations of the selected scheme to interested members and to local councillors in the Autumn.
Together with the South Woodford to Barking relief road, at present the subject of a local public inquiry, the 509W East London river crossing scheme will extend the existing dual carriageway A406 trunk road across the Thames to connect with the A2 and Dover. It will thus significantly improve access to the docklands area and play an important part in its economic development. The provision of a purpose-built route will help remove the environmental damage at present being suffered on residential roads on the present inadequate road network in the area.
This Government give very high priority to the regeneration of this area of East London, and I am anxious that we should push ahead quickly with the next stages in the development of the scheme. I have therefore instructed Sir William Halcrow and Partners, the consulting engineers who carried out the initial studies, to prepare draft orders for the scheme under the Highway's Act. In the meantime we shall safeguard the land required for the preferred scheme.