HC Deb 29 April 1996 vol 276 cc757-8
7. Sir David Knox

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what has been the total spending by central Government on roads in Wales since 1979; and how many miles of motorway and trunk road have been laid since that year. [25638]

Mr. Hague

Since 1979, total spending by central Government on the roads programme in Wales is more than £2.9 billion, including £510 million transport grant. Twenty-eight miles of motorway and 167 miles of trunk road have been completed or improved. Eight major improvement schemes totalling another 28 miles are under construction.

Sir David Knox

Does my right hon. Friend agree that considerable progress has been made in improving the motorway and trunk road network in Wales since 1979 and that that has been of great help in attracting inward investment to Wales?

Mr. Hague

My hon. Friend is right. One of the additional attractions for inward investors, on top of the flexible labour market, the work of the Welsh Development Agency and the lower non-wage labour costs to which I referred, is the improving infrastructure in Wales. We have done much to improve the strategic east-west routes in Wales. That work is continuing with the proposals that I have published for the M4 and for the A465 Heads of the Valleys road. It makes a tremendous difference.

Dr. Howells

Does the Secretary of State recognise the chronic traffic congestion on the A470, the main north-south route in Wales, especially at its most southerly point, where the Coryton interchange is subject to constant long traffic jams that do nothing for the competitiveness of industry in Cardiff or my constituency? Can he confirm that the Welsh Office has plans to bypass that interchange and say which route the bypass will take?

Mr. Hague

I have no announcement today for the hon. Gentleman, but I will, of course, consider his representations—and all representations—on the subject. We plan to start one scheme on the A470 in the coming year but I shall be happy to give him further details in writing if he wishes.