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M25 (Extensions)

Volume 929: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give an assurance that the statutory processes which will precede the construction of that part of the M25—the North Orbital extension—from Micklefield Green to South Mimms will be instituted at an early date, and that that section of the M25 will be timed for construction at the same time as or earlier than the Egham-Maple Cross section.

The M25 is a top priority road, and we shall publish draft orders for the section between Micklefield Green and South Mimms at the earliest practicable date. Subject to the satisfactory completion of the statutory procedures and to the availability of funds, it is expected that construction of the sections between the Heathrow Airport spur and Maple Cross and between Micklefield Green and South Mimms will both begin in 1981.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Is he aware that the people of Watford are desperately hoping that he will speedily relieve the A41 and the A405 of the traffic congestion to which they are subjected and that if the construction of the Micklefield Green-South Mimms section is delayed or the Egham-Maple Cross section is done first it will intensify and prolong the misery that the residents of North Watford are experiencing?

I am indeed aware of the misery of the people of Watford—[Laughter]—only because they were graphically explained to me at great length by my hon. Friend when he saw me last week. I am sure—as he says—that it is entirely a consequence of the traffic going along the A41 and the A405. There cannot be any other reason. I therefore accepted, as I continue to accept, that we must try to relieve this at the earliest possible moment. This has the highest national priority.

As the M25 is intended to orbit round to the south of London to join up, one day, to the north end of the M23, can the Under-Secretary now assure the House that he will not extend the M3 beyond its present terminal point at Hooley?

I cannot give the House that assurance at present. None the less, we are aware of the very strong feeling that has been expressed by the hon. Gentleman and by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Mr. Douglas-Mann) on a number of occasions. We will certainly bear that point in mind.