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Volume 603: debated on Thursday 10 December 2015

The M6 junctions 16 to 19 smart motorway scheme commenced the start of works in October 2015. Work on the project is progressing well, with preparatory works such as site clearance currently being delivered. The main works for this project are due to commence in early 2016 with a 23-month construction phase, meaning the scheme is expected to complete in early 2018.

Several of my constituents living near this stretch of the M6 consider the measures to mitigate the effects of noise and environmental pollution to be inadequate, both in terms of the current impact during the works and the impact of the widened M6 for years to come. Will the Minister meet me to discuss my constituents’ concerns?

That section of the M6 is very busy: it carries about 132,000 vehicles a day. There are measures that can be taken to help with noise, such as a low noise surface being laid on the road or installing noise barriers. I would be delighted to meet my hon. Friend.

I thank you for your indulgence, Mr Speaker. I am rather out of breath, sir, and I am very grateful to have caught your eye.

The local enterprise partnership in Cheshire identified this stretch of the M6 as a problem that needs work, but it failed to identify the M56 in Cheshire where major delays and serious accidents are an almost weekly occurrence. Will the Minister, while he is looking at M6 junctions 16 to 19, consider yet again the problems on the M56 and whether he can bring road safety forward in that part of Cheshire too?

That is a very entrepreneurial extension of the question. I am always happy to look at issues of road safety wherever they are on our road network. We have already had a Westminster Hall debate on this issue, so the hon. Gentleman is fully aware of the Government’s view.

This is absolutely currently the most appalling bit of the motorway network anywhere in England. Has the Minister factored into his plans further economic growth in the north and the need to shift freight to rail?

Most certainly at the heart of our road investment strategy is the impact on the freight sector. As regards rail, I work very closely with the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Claire Perry).