To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to accelerate the proposed work on the A 13 between the M25 and outer London.
My right hon. and learned Friend has today announced his intention that a major advanced works contract on the A13 Wennington to Mar Dyke scheme should be started in the coming financial year, subject to satisfactory completion of remaining procedures.
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Will he take my word for it that my constituents are horrified by Labour party proposals to review the trunk road programme? That would be devastating to my part of the country—
Order. The hon. Lady should put a question to the Minister.
Does my hon. Friend agree that in the meantime we could so something to improve the A13, because it carries major freight from Ford at Dagenham, from Tilbury docks and from Shell Haven, all of which involve developing industries in my part of the country?
I agree that the A 13 is of fundamental importance for the prosperity of my hon. Friend's constituents and of many others in the east Thames corridor. Apart from the Wennington to Mar Dyke scheme, I am pleased to say that about £455 million worth of improvements—dualling, flyovers and junction improvements—are planned for that section of the A13.
On major road improvements on trunk roads and motorways, what progress is my hon. Friend making in achieving lower noise levels through better surfacing? What consideration is being given to noise barriers of various kinds?
There are a number of experiments at the moment to improve the noise environment on our motorways and they include the most modern technology for noise barriers. We also have studies under way to determine whether it is possible to use a porous asphalt surface on some roads, as that would reduce noise for people living near those roads. We certainly take into account the effects on local residents of noise from roads and we are doing our best to minimise them.