§ Mr. Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has made an assessment of the environmental implications of the proposed £13 billion road building programme.
§ Mr. Atkins
Protecting and enhancing the environment is a major feature of the Government's road building plans.
By reducing congestion, which wastes fuel, the trunk road programme will lead to lower exhaust emissions than would otherwise be the case if additional road capacity was not provided. The emphasis in the programme on increasing capacity on existing motorways and other strategic routes will help minimise the requirement for additional land and the overall impact on the countryside. Some one third of trunk road schemes are bypasses, which will considerably improve the environment of the communities concerned.