§ Mr. Greg Knight
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason a tall fence is being erected adjacent to the hard shoulder on the southbound carriageway of the Ml motorway south of junction 25; what the total cost is of the works; who authorised the same; and who is bearing the cost. 
§ Mr. Spellar
The Highways Agency has received numerous complaints from local residents living adjacent to the M1 south of junction 25 about the high level of traffic noise. As part of the Government's "New Deal for Trunk Roads in England". revised criteria and a ring fenced annual budget have been established to help the Agency to deal with some of the most serious and pressing cases of noise from the motorway and trunk road network.
Following an initial assessment of sites on the network, the M1 junction 25 was identified as an area with a particular noise problem and was subsequently included in the list of locations to be prioritised for treatment published in Hansard in November 1999. This was followed by a detailed Scheme Identification Study to determine the most appropriate and viable method of reducing the noise problems at this location. Environmental barriers were found to be the most cost effective solution. A local consultation exercise was carried out in October 2000.
The estimated final cost of the works is £1.2 million, but this includes an element for the upgrade of part of the motorway communications network (approximately £130,000), which is being carried out at the same time. The work was authorised and is being funded by the Highways Agency.