§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
The strategy for provision of MSAs on the M25 was developed following public consultation in 1983. Decisions in principle were made in 1984 to promote four MSAs, at the compass cardinal points and at very roughly 30 mile intervals, the interval used on the motorway network as a whole.
The then Minister of State agreed in August 1985 that the MSA for the northern sector at South Mimms would be developed by BP. This was an exceptional arrangement. The other three sites, at Clacket lane, Thurrock and lver, were to be developed following competitive tender, in conformity with Government policy for marketing MSAs announced by the then Secretary of State on 4 August 1980. Current policy has been reaffirmed in this House on 17 March this year at columns 372–73.
South Mimms opened for cars and coaches in 1987 and is due to provide facilities for HGVs at this end of the year.
Public inquiries into the Department's proposals for Clacket lane near Westerham, together with two competing private proposals, were held in 1986 and 1987. A further site visit was made in May 1988 by the inspector who conducted the inquiries to examine the impact of the October 1987 storm. The Secretary of State for the Environment announced on 15 December 1988 his decision to allow the Department's proposals to go ahead but refusing the two competing proposals. The Department is ready to go to tender but now has to delay because of a legal challenge into the planning decisions by one of the parties.
We estimate that over 300,000 vehicles per month would wish to use an MSA in the area had it been open, but will not be able to do so until the challenge is resolved and an MSA built.
At Thurrock outline planning clearance has been obtained, the compulsory purchase order made and the developer appointed. Preliminary ground treatment work on the site has been underway by agreement since 1988. The local planning authority has objected to the proposed design of the buildings. That objection has been referred to 237W the Secretary of State for the Environment under DoE circular 18/84 procedures. Subject to an early resolution this should allow opening in 1990.
The position at Iver is more problematic. This is a particularly heavy trafficked part of the motorway where widening proposals are likely to have a significant impact. A further statement will be made as soon as possible.