§ Mr. John Browne
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his Department's current legal position visà vis the European Commission regarding the environmental implication of his proposals to complete the M3 at Winchester between Bar End and Compton.
§ Mr. Chope
[holding answer 14 October 1991]: Earlier this year the European Commission asked the Government for their informal comments on a complaint which the Commission had received in respect of the proposed M3 at Winchester. The basis of the complaint was that the M3 decision announced in March 1990 should have been preceded by an environmental impact assessment in accordance with EC directive 85/337/EEC. The Government have replied to the Commission.
The next step for the Commission to take, if it intends to pursue the complaint future, is to issue a formal letter under article 169 of the treaty of Rome and to consider the Government's comments on it. The Commission would then decide whether to issue a reasoned opinion.
No formal letter under article 169 has been received.