§ Sir David Price
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department has yet determined whether concrete or tarmacadam is the more cost-effective surfacing for new motorways; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
It is impossible and unnecessary to make a national decision on which material is the most cost effective. Recent research on performance and whole-life costs has shown that, within the limits of the information available, both materials can give equally satisfactory performance. Their relative merits for any given construction scheme depend on local conditions, and a number of designs and materials are included in the Department's standards and specifications to meet these conditions. Tenders for suitable designs in both forms of construction are sought on a competitive basis and the one of lowest initial cost is accepted. It is planned to extend research to examine the feasibility of evaluating individual tenders to take account of all whole life costs, including those arising from traffic delays which may be sensitive to local conditions.