HC Deb 08 January 2001 vol 360 cc385-6W
Mr. Purchase

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make it his policy to ensure that all traffic management schemes are subjected to cost/benefit analysis and that the results of the analysis are in the public domain. [143933]

Mr. Hill

We have no plans to reduce the present threshold (gross costs which exceed £5 million) at which local authorities proposing major local transport schemes are required to submit a detailed appraisal in order to be eligible for Government support for their scheme.

For schemes below this threshold, the Government now allocate resources in response to overall programmes and strategies rather than to individual schemes. However, we expect authorities to appraise their programmes in accordance with guidance that we have issued and for components of such programmes to be justified in their own right. In cases where the impacts of components are substantial, formal appraisal is particularly important, even if the cost is less than £5 million. We have also made clear that we may ask authorities to provide such evidence to justify particular components of their local transport plans.

Local authorities are under a general statutory duty to place reports which have informed decisions taken by councillors into the public domain, except where such documents contain exempt or confidential information as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. All local transport plans are public documents.

For roads that are the responsibility of the Highways Agency, all improvement schemes, including traffic management schemes, are assessed using the new approach to appraisal. For schemes subject to statutory procedures, the results are placed in the public domain automatically; for other schemes, they are made available on request.

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