HC Deb 08 July 1991 vol 194 cc287-8W
Mr. Gill

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will make a statement on the Government's policy on the provision of bypasses.

Mr. Chope

Bypasses are an important part of our commitment to civilising road transport. We know that they make a significant contribution to improving the quality of life in our towns and villages.

I am pleased to announce that we propose to add to the roads programme a further 15 schemes which are new or extended bypasses or related improvements, and three scheme identification studies, at a total cost of £85 million. The package includes new bypasses for Christleton and Waverton near Chester, Turvey in Bedfordshire, Kilkhampton in Cornwall, and Bishop Burton in Yorkshire. Other components are improved bypasses for Ilminster in Somerset, Guestling Thorn and Icklesham in East Sussex, Woofferton in Shropshire and Skeffington in Leicestershire. Studies will consider alternatives to the A40 through Cheltenham, and the possibility of relief for the A45 through the south of Coventry and for the A663 Broadway in Manchester.

The bypass programme has made a major contribution to improving urban conditions over many years. One hundred and three trunk road bypasses have been built in England since 1979 and over 170 are planned. Twenty-one are now under construction, with a further 19 due to start this financial year. In addition, since 1986–87, a total of 191 local authority bypasses supported by transport supplementary grant have been completed, 64 are under construction, and 30 more are due to start this financial year.

Bypasses in themselves achieve great environmental benefits by redirecting traffic to more suitable routes. A new bypass can have a much bigger impact on the quality of the local environment if complementary measures are implemented at the same time which take advantage of the fresh opportunities which arise if through traffic is removed or significantly reduced.

These opportunities can include the introduction of traffic calming measures, improved provision for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users, landscaping and environmental enhancements.

Last year in the enviroment White Paper we announced our intention to set up demonstration projects in a number of towns to link the provision of a trunk road bypass with measures in the bypassed towns. I am pleased to announce that the towns selected for the demonstration projects are:

  • Berkhamsted
  • Dalton-in-Furness
  • Market Harborough
  • Petersfield
  • Wadebridge
  • Whitchurch

Local authorities responded enthusiastically to an invitation to nominate towns for the project, and it has not been easy to choose just six from the many interesting possibilities put forward. But the towns selected offer a good range of issues and opportunities, and in each case the local authorities already have proposals to build on the contribution being made by the trunk road bypass.

The bypass demonstration project will explore the possibilities in these towns, together with the local authorities, the Civic Trust and community interests. It will show what can be achieved in specific locations, and provide new ideas and useful guidance for the many local authorities whose towns will benefit from bypasses over the next few years.