HC Deb 24 May 1994 vol 244 c134W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what representations he has received from members of the public in Coventry regarding the effect on the environment of proposals to widen the M25; and what proposals he has for minimising the effects these proposals will have on the environment;

(2) how the sites of special scientific interest affected by the proposed widening of the M25 will be protected; what representations he has received about these proposals; if he will list them; and what consultations he has carried out with members of the public or organisations.

Mr. Key

These questions relate to operational matters of the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive, Mr. Lawrie Haynes to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Jim Cunningham, dated 23 May 1994: The Minister for Roads and Traffic, Mr. Key, has asked me to write to you in reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about widening the M25 motorway. I am sorry, but information about representations received from particular locations is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Similarly, many thousands of representations have been received about the widening proposals and I am afraid it would not be practicable to list them as you requested. About 70 per cent. of the proposed M25 widening will be undetaken within existing highway boundaries to limit the effects on surrounding areas. Where environmental effects cannot be avoided, a range of measures are proposed to keep them to a minimum. Depending on the particular location, the measures include the provision of noise and visual screens, landscaping, noise insulation to properties and, where appropriate, the use of porous asphalt to reduce traffic noise. It is not currently expected that any land will be required from Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) except possibly for a small area which may be needed from Ockham and Wisley Commons SSSI which surrounds Junction 10. We have consulted the public and a wide range of organisations, including English Nature, Countryside Commission and National Rivers Authority, on all M25 widening proposals published to date. Environmental statements have been published for comment on each of these proposals (except for proposed link roads between junctions 15–16 which is at an earlier stage of development and where an Assessment Report was published) and public exhibitions held in each case.