HC Deb 12 February 1997 vol 290 cc177-8W
Mr. Meacher

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what environmental impact assessment study has been prepared for the Newbury bypass under the provisions of the EC environmental impact directive; what information he has received in respect of the petition made to the European Parliament Petitions Committee concerning the environmental implications of this road project; and if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's monitoring of environmentally based petitions presented to the European Parliament on matters arising in the United Kingdom. [15434]

Mr. Watts

The Government have taken the view consistently that directive 85/337/EEC on environmental impact assessment does not apply to projects such as the Newbury bypass, for which the formal development consent procedure was initiated before the directive came into force on 3 July 1988. In an announcement on 20 October 1995, the European Commission made it clear that it agreed with that view. The bypass scheme was, however, assessed carefully for its environmental effects in accordance with the Department of Transport's manual of environmental appraisal, which was the relevant guidance at the time.

The Government have been informed by the President of the European Parliament about the petition made to the Parliament's Petitions Committee about the bypass.

The Government are not informed routinely by the European Parliament of the content of petitions that it has received. It is for the European Parliament itself to decide how to handle such petitions.