§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he proposes to make any changes to the route of the proposed M1-A1 link road at Naseby; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
It remains my right hon. Friend's intention to build the link road on the line authorised as a trunk road by the relevant orders. This will take the road north of Naseby. We are pressing on with the remaining statutory procedures for this section of the road. We expect to start site works in the spring for the section of road from east of Kettering to Thrapston.
Recent press reports stem from a judgement by the Court of Appeal which confirmed the validity of the decision by my right hon. Friend the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Transport to adopt the published route. They took this decision after considering all the evidence including the report of the inspector who conducted a long and searching public inquiry into the matter in 1984–85.
Alternative routings at Naseby, and the importance of the battlefield, were discussed at length. The hard choice was between preserving the whole battlefield area and protecting the environment elsewhere.
My right hon. Friends were satisfied that even the effects on the battlefield and its historic claims did not outweigh environmental and other arguments.
The roads will cross the southern edge of the battlefield at low level in a natural valley. We do not propose to reopen the debate now.
We intend to complete construction of the whole link road as soon as possible.