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M65 Extension

Volume 644: debated on Thursday 5 July 2018

4. What assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the M65 from Colne to Keighley. (906265)

Highways England has gathered evidence about the performance of the strategic road network, and future pressures on it, to inform the decisions we have taken as part of the second road investment strategy. This process of evidence gathering and public consultation has taken into consideration the idea of extending the M65.

The Secretary of State has invested in the idea of a rail link between Liverpool and Hull, connecting the east and west through the central low Pennines. Do the Government accept that a road link would be complementary? It would go through deprived communities and provide a huge economic uplift. Do the Government recognise that this is the great northern powerhouse project?

As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, we are already investing £1.5 billion in road systems in the north-west. Of course the M65 is, in a way, a legendary road because it ends in a carpark, and no one thinks that is a satisfactory arrangement. I would welcome a further conversation with him about this, but the situation is far from straightforward.

Will Ministers also look favourably on restoring a rail link between Keighley and Colne by restoring the Skipton to Colne rail link, starting in the Government Chief Whip’s constituency? Will they look carefully at the feasibility study that is under way?