HL Deb 14 January 1985 vol 458 c863WA
Lord Stanley of Alderley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they agree with the Inspector's report on the proposed Oxford-Birmingham motorway that the original preferred route between Wheatley and Wendlebury should now be substituted for the Eastern R.2 route, and if so

  1. (i) when will investigations start on this new preferred route;
  2. (ii) will there be a further public inquiry;
  3. (iii) is the original preferred route that passed through Bernwood Forest and Otmoor still a possible route for a motorway.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

The decisions of my right honourable friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and Transport following the 1982/83 inquiry into the proposals on the Oxford/Birmingham M40 motorway were announced on 14th December. The decision letter explained that, before coming to a conclusion on the section of the route south of Wendlebury, the Secretaries of State thought it right to investigate the possibility of finding an eastern route which would meet the desire of the objectors and the conclusion of the Inspector that Otmoor and the Bernwood Forest should be avoided, but which would have less disadvantage overall than the R.2 route. My right honourable friends therefore deferred their decision on this section of the route.

The investigations will start shortly and a further announcement on the outcome will be made as soon as possible. Whatever the outcome, a further public inquiry is almost certain to be needed. Until a final decision is made, the original published route across Otmoor is not ruled out as one of the possibilities.