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Enterprise Zones (Road And Rail Systems)

Volume 983: debated on Wednesday 23 April 1980

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asked the Minister of Transport what studies his Department is making of the road and rail system aspects of the proposed enterprise zones.

The transport aspects of the enterprise zones are being considered in relation to particular sites as part of the consultations now in progress with local authority and other interests.

Does not my hon. and learned Friend agree that the availability of good communications into the enterprise zones is a vital ingredient if those zones are to be the success that Conservative Members wish them to be?

I agree with my hon. Friend, and that is why we are paying particular regard to the problems of access to possible sites. We are, therefore, going through the present short-list of possible sites. If there is no proper access to motorways, railways and markets it will inhibit the success of those zones. We all hope that these enterprise zones will make a valuable contribution to the boosting of small businesses.

Who is expected to pay for the cost of access—central Government or local authorities?

In choosing sites we are looking at existing access. We hope to designate those sites that are best placed to give access to the markets Where improvement is required local authorities will probably have to provide it, but we shall be particularly sympathetic to requests from local authorities for grant assistance, when they improve access to those zones.

Does not the Minister agree that it is essential, when planning enterprise zones in Manchester, to bear in mind not only road and rail links, but the fact that the Manchester ship canal and the port of Manchester are also important factors? What proposals does he have in mind that will be in time to assist that industry?

The extension of the M602 to Salford is probably the most important proposal under consideration, and we are about to go ahead with its construction.