To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the current position on the proposed widening of the M6 and the competition for a private sector route in the Birmingham to Manchester corridor.
I have today announced plans for widening the M6 between junctions 11 and 20 to dual four-lane carriageway at an estimated cost of £450 million. A copy of the press notice setting out the details of what is proposed has been placed in the Library. I have also announced the decision that, for a variety of reasons, ranging from environmental to operational, none of the proposals received in response to the competition for a new privately-funded route in the Birmingham-Manchester corridor are to be taken forward. However, we shall keep under review the scope for involving the private sector further in road provision throughout the network.In widening the M6, environmental assessment will be carried out and landscaping, planting and noise protection measures will be used extensively. We shall continue to consult local authorities and other interested organisations as we develop designs for widening. We will mount exhibitions to show our designs to the public and enable them to comment, prior to embarking on the normal statutory procedures required for this kind of road improvement.