§ Mr. Waller
asked the Secreary of State for the Environment whether he has been approached about planning permission for project Mercury; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Heseltine
Yes. The chief executive of Mercury has approached my Department seeking assistance in securing planning authorisation for a trunk telecommunications network to be established alongside major railway routes. Under the usual procedure numerous applications would be necessary, one to each of the local planning authorities through whose area the network would pass. I propose that the planning implications of the project should be considered as a whole and one decision made. I am accordingly consulting interested bodies and my proposal, subject to their views, is to lay before the House a special development order to grant planning permission for the network.