HC Deb 01 February 1999 vol 324 c465W
Ms Walley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the progress made by the Regional Planning Group on alternatives to M6 widening to relieve traffic congestion in Staffordshire. [68322]

Ms Glenda Jackson

My noble Friend the Minister for Roads and Road Safety on 10 December 1998,Official Report, House of Lords, column 110, as well as announcing the Programme of Trunk Road Starts in the West Midlands, took the opportunity to announce the start of the consultation with Regional Planning bodies on the programme of studies to address the most urgent problems on the Trunk Road network not addressed by schemes in the Targeted Programme of Improvements.

The West Midlands to North West Conurbation Study is scheduled to begin in the Summer of 1999. Consultation with the Regional Planning Conference will take place during the preparation of the consultants brief and at regular time throughout the life of the study.

As part of this multi-modal study, the consultants will be asked to indicate a comprehensive range of strategies that could be used to tackle the traffic problems of the area, including the possibility of modal shift especially for freight. All infrastructure improvements that are identified as a preferred option, whether road or other modes, will be assessed against the New Approach to Appraisal.