§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact on Colne of the increased traffic resulting from the completion of the M65-M6 link; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms. Glenda Jackson
The M65 Blackburn Southern Bypass, Junctions 1 to 6 opened on 15 December 1997 linking the existing M65 at J6 Whitebirk with the National Motorway network at the M61 and M6.
During the planning stages, the Highways Agency predicted that completion of the road would result in a 10 per cent. increase in traffic on the existing M65 east of Blackburn (Junctions 6 to 7).
Colne is some 15 miles east of the end of the Blackburn Southern Bypass and we have no reason to believe that the traffic impact on Colne will be any greater than that 10 per cent. estimation. We will be monitoring traffic flows on the new section of M65 as soon as possible during the coming year once traffic patterns have settled down.