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Epping Forest (Road Schemes)

Volume 975: debated on Wednesday 5 December 1979

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asked the Minister of Transport what road schemes, apart from the M25, are contemplated by his Department that would infringe Epping Forest.

We are considering some schemes in North-East London which could slightly affect Epping Forest land. They are a relief road between Hackney Wick and the M11, a relief road between South Woodford and Barking and the widening of the North Circular Road in the vicinity of Hale End Road.

Is my hon. Friend's Department in constant consul- tation with the Conservators? Am I right in thinking that nothing is contemplated on the scale of the encroachments at Bell Common or Upshire in my constituency?

I can give my hon. Friend both those assurances. In the end, if any small take of forest land is contemplated, it is for the Conservators to approve it, and if a private Bill has to be presented, for this House to approve it.

Is the Minister aware that there has been considerable encroachment into Epping Forest since the war as a result of road improvements? If that important amenity area is not to be destroyed, maximum resistance to further encroachment should be expressed. Does the Minister recall that when the Bill was before the House he made a statement on the matter?

We are very much aware of the need to avoid encroachment on to land such as Epping Forest. As I told the hon. Gentleman in the debate to which he referred, in the main it is slivers of land alongside an existing road that are being looked at, and otherwise only some small encreachment to cater for the schemes that I have indicated.

Is my hon. Friend aware that it is not the current intention to signpost my constituency of Basildon on the M25? What action will he take to see that Basildon is put on the map? It is the second largest urban area in the second largest county.

I shall look again at the needs of Basildon and the desire of many people travelling on the M25 to visit it. When signposting motorways it is necessary to restrict signs to the minimum and to indicate main points of destination. With that in mind, I shall consider the claims of Basildon.