§ Mr. Macfarlane
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what advice his Department gives to contractors over the choice of tarmac or concrete for motorway surfacing.
§ Mrs. Chalker
Unless there are engineering reasons to the contrary, contractors are provided with designs for concrete and bituminous pavement construction, and invited to tender prices for both. The designs are in accordance with the Department's standards, and materials and construction must be in accordance with the Department's specification. Those criteria ensure that either form of construction would normally be equally acceptable. The contract is then awarded on the basis of the lowest tender, which ensures that the most economical form of construction is adopted, and therefore ultimately determines the type of material that is used.