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Volume 35: debated on Thursday 27 January 1983

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether the consultancy contract or contracts for the proposed extension of the M40 was put out to tender; and, if so, which firms were invited to tender;(2) which firm or firms were appointed as consultants for the proposed extension of the M40; for what purpose the firm or firms were commissioned; and what fees have been set.

The proposed extension of the M40 was part of the work of the Department's road construction sub-units, which was transferred to consultants following the decision of my predecessor in October 1980. Ninety-eight firms of consulting engineers submitted proposals to take over that work on the basis of the standard fees payable for preparation work on trunk roads. The final selection of firms for sub-unit work was based on a number of factors which included a firm's experience and performance in highways work, the proportion of its work which was done overseas, its capacity to take on the new schemes and also the sub-unit staff who had been working on those schemes.As a result of this process, in 1981 Sir William Halcrow and Partners and Ove Arup and Partners were appointed as main consultants for the preparation work on consecutive sections of the M40. At the same time the Department continued its specialist commissions with RTM planning partnership for environmental assessment work on the M40 and with Transport Planning Associates, in conjunction with Howard Humphreys and Partners, for traffic and economic work. Those firms had been selected earlier on the basis of their experience in similar work. The appointments both of the main consultants and of the specialist consultants were made on standard terms.