HC Deb 23 March 1999 vol 328 cc158-60W
Dr. Naysmith

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what was the outcome of consultation with Regional Planning Bodies on the study programme proposed in "A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England"; and if he will announce the final programme of studies. [78577]

Dr. Reid

The consultation exercise with Regional Planning Bodies, launched on 10 December 1998, is now complete and we have received representations from all the regions. We want to take the studies forward in partnership with Regional Planning Bodies in order to ensure that they are closely integrated with regional planning objectives. The study programme reflects regional priorities and will feed into the development of regional transport strategies as part of regional planning guidance. I am pleased that the responses we have received are generally in favour of our approach and, in particular, our determination to examine the contribution that all modes can make to the problems of congestion, environment and safety within the study areas.

I am now able to announce the final study programme which takes into account many of the Regional Planning Bodies' proposals, and to give more details about the timing of the studies.

Tranche 1—to begin 1999–2000 Multi-modal studies

  • West Midlands to North West Conurbation
  • London Orbital
  • Access to Hastings
  • Tyneside
  • West Midlands Area
  • South and West Yorkshire Motorway Box
  • London to South West and South Wales
  • North South Movements in East Midlands
  • South East Manchester
  • Cambridge to Huntingdon
  • A453 (M1-Nottingham)
Roads-based studies
  • A1 Bramham to Barton
  • A66 Safety
  • M40/A46 Longbridge roundabout
  • A3 Hindhead
  • M1 Junction 19
  • A419 Blunsdon
Tranche 2—to begin 2000–01 Multi-modal studies
  • Southampton to Folkestone
  • London to South Midlands
  • West Midlands to Nottingham
  • London to Reading
  • Hull
  • London to Ipswich
Roads-based studies
  • Deeside Park Junctions
  • Norwich to Great Yarmouth
  • A5/A483 Shrewsbury to Chester
  • A38 Derby Junctions
Provisional Tranche 3 Multi-modal studies
  • A34 North from Southampton
  • A47 West of Norwich
  • A1 North of Newcastle.

The studies are divided into two categories—full multi-modal studies which will be taken forward by the Government Offices for the Regions in consultation with regional partners, and roads based studies which, although they will take account of the contributions which can be made by other modes, are primarily directed at specific points on individual roads, and which will be led by the Highways Agency.

Work on most of the studies in Tranche 1 will begin this spring, with all of them commencing by the autumn. The length of time it will take to complete each study will vary depending on the complexity of the issues, but we expect that they will take, on average, 2 years to complete. As a first step, steering groups will be established, chaired by the Government Offices and to include representatives from the Regional Planning Bodies, and other regional partners, to finalise the terms of reference for each study and the timescale for delivery. Tranche 2 studies need not wait for tranche 1 studies to be completed, and we expect to begin work on these in 2000–01.

The multi-modal studies are not a one off exercise. As we described in the recently published draft planning policy guidance note II (PPGII) "Regional Planning", multi-modal studies of transport problems will be one of the major inputs to the development of Regional Transport Strategies. Therefore in the future we expect Regional Planning Bodies, rather than central Government, to commission and lead their own multi-modal studies. From some of the additional studies proposed by the Regional Planning Bodies, we have identified a provisional third tranche of studies which could be taken forward in this way. The case for a study of the A1 North of Newcastle will depend on the outcome of the current Highways Agency route management study.