§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he made of the environmental implications before deciding to route a bypass through Birkham wood; and if he will now re-examine the designated route so as to minimise further the environmental damage.
§ Mr. Atkins
The road proposals affecting Birkham wood (Harrogate-Knaresborough southern bypass) have been promoted by North Yorkshire county council. Public local inquiries were held in 1989 to consider the proposals and the inspector has reported to the Secretary of State. At these inquiries evidence on the environmental implications of the route of the bypass through the wood was presented by the Nature Conservancy Council and others. This evidence was summarised in the inspector's report together with the county council's response.
An interim decision letter was issued on behalf of the Secretary of State on 23 November 1989 which was concerned with a technical defect in the compulsory purchase order. Once this issue has been resolved the Secretary of State will come to a decision in respect of the orders.