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M1 (Extension)

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1961

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21.

asked the Minister of Transport whether, having regard to the traffic needs of the East Midlands and of the special function of the M.1 extension as a by-pass road for Nottingham, Derby and Leicester, he will accelerate procedures for the construction of that section of the motorway which is intended to link the present terminal point at Crick with the junction with A.611 at Selston.

31.

asked the Minister of Transport when the motorway M.1 will be extended to Yorkshire.

47.

asked the Minister of Transport by what date he estimates M.1 will be in use beyond Leicester, thus easing the present traffic congestion in the city and suburbs.

I have nothing at present to add to the Answers which were given on 24th October and 15th November to the hon. Members for Leicester, North-West (Sir B. Janner) and Ashfield (Mr. Warbey).

As this programme as a whole is lagging, as compared with what happened in the case of the first section of the M.1, and as the total length of the Yorkshire extension is 86 miles, will the Minister give serious consideration to the idea of starting, completing and opening the extension in two or three sections, each of which would provide a valuable traffic link and which would serve as a temporary terminal?

It is a little early to decide that particular matter, because we are still in the stage of the numerous statutory preliminary processes which, as the hon. Gentleman knows, have caused some delay to this project as a whole in the past. But I will certainly bear that in mind.

Does the Minister realise that the extension of the M.1 into Yorkshire is needed in the near future in order to speed up the passage of raw materials and manufactured goods to and from the great industrial cities and towns of Yorkshire, and is it not the case that the Minister is short of money for this project owing to the economic mess into which the Government have led us?

No. The hon. Gentleman is completely wrong in the second part of his supplementary question. The reason this project lagged was simply that the people in Leicestershire objected very strongly to the original line. That put the whole project back, as we have now seen, by a couple of years. We have now a new line and we are progressing with that as quickly as we can. In the meantime, we have proceeded with the large-scale improvement of the Great North Road, which also goes in that direction, and which will serve us very well not only in the intermediate period but for a long time to come.

Can my hon. Friend speed up these formalities in order to cut the waiting period and enable a start to be made sooner? Would it not be of great assistance to the highways committees of Leicester and Leicestershire if they could have some idea when the pressure on Leicester City at the moment will be relieved by the construction of the M.1 beyond that city?

As I have said before in Answers to Questions, Parliament has placed upon us an obligation to proceed in these road matters at a certain pace. We cannot, much as we should like to, speed up the preliminary processes faster than Parliament will allow us to do. Within the confines of the processes imposed upon us, we are making all the speed that we can.