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M1-M6 Junction

Volume 517: debated on Thursday 28 October 2010

11. What proposals for improvements to the M1-M6 junction he is considering; and if he will make a statement. (19922)

I refer my hon. Friend to the oral statement made by the Secretary of State for Transport to the House on 26 October, and the supporting documentation. The preferred option for improving the junction is the proposal announced in February 2009 to provide free-flowing traffic links between the A14, the M1 and the M6.

Does my hon. Friend agree that that is one of the most dangerous junctions and one of the most important junctions on the motorway network? When does she expect the works there to be completed, and what other projects do the Government have to improve the M1 and M6 motorways?

I agree that that is a very important junction on our strategic road network. That is one of the reasons why we have prioritised funding for the project at a time of intense pressure on the public finances because of the deficit that we inherited. I also agree that road safety is an important issue in this case. The Highways Agency is working hard to manage and mitigate the road safety impact of the current junction, but we believe that the scheme will provide additional long-term road safety benefits. The scheme is not likely to be able to be progressed before 2015, but we are working on a revised timetable, with a view to construction beginning some time after that period.

Another important junction that has congestion problems and very poor design is junction 13 on the M60 at my Worsley constituency, but instead of doing something about junction design and improving the safety and other aspects there, Ministers have pushed forward with a white elephant of a scheme to add another lane to the motorway at that point. I and my constituents have objected to that from the start. The additional lane will blight the lives of people who live near the motorway. Given that they cannot push ahead with the good schemes that Members have put forward this morning, I urge Ministers to cancel that stupid white elephant of a scheme, think again and use the scarce public resources where they are better utilised.

I refer the hon. Lady to the statement that the Secretary of State made earlier this week on the difficult decisions that we have made to prioritise investment in the most significant traffic bottlenecks on our road network. However, she will be well aware that before all those projects proceed to completion, they must pass through the appropriate planning appraisal programme, and full consideration will be given to the local community’s views as part of that important process.

No, no. I apologise to the hon. Gentleman. I thought that he was seeking to come in on Question 11, which is where we were. I am afraid that we cannot go to Question 17.