§ Mr. Atkins
[holding answer 8 February 1990]: There is already a good rail service between Lancashire and London, which will benefit further from British Rail's substantial programme of investment.
The trunk road network is undergoing a major programme of expansion, as announced in "Roads for Prosperity"; within this programme are a number of schemes which will benefit links between Lancashire and London, in particular the completion of the M40 and the Birmingham orbital, and widening schemes for the M1 between junctions 6A and 19, the M6 between junctions 1 and 4A, junctions 11 and 21A and junctions 30 and 32. The widening of all present dual three lanes sections of the M25 to dual four lanes will also facilitate travel. The cost of the widening schemes alone will amount to some £1.8 billion.
There is also a number of major schemes proposed linking Greater Manchester and other urban areas to the national motorway network. These include the Greater Manchester western and northern relief road, the Manchester outer ring road, the Blackburn southern bypass and the Preston southern and western bypass.
The Government are also considering the timing and scope of the possibility of competitive tendering in the private sector to provide a new route in the Birmingham to Manchester corridor.
The region's airports are controlled by the local airport authorities and are not therefore under the direct responsibility of the Department. It is the policy of the Department to encourage LAAs to develop services to meet fully the demand which exists.