§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
To ask the Prime Minister how he proposed to respond to the petition from Alice Hyde.
§ The Prime Minister
I have acknowledged Alice Hyde's petition on the effect of the proposed east London river 31W crossing on Oxleas wood and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will arrange for a full reply to be sent shortly. It will confirm that the impact of the road on the wood was carefully considered at the public inquiries held in 1985 and 1986, and subsequently by the Secretaries of State for Transport and the Environment before they approved the line of the road.
The route has been aligned to preserve the largest part of Oxleas wood intact. The slopes of the cutting through the wood, and the new area of open space to be given in exchange for that required for the road, will be landscaped to recreate, as far as possible, the woodland habitat that existed before the road was built.
The Government place much weight on environmental matters. However, we have to balance the environmental impact of measures associated with road schemes with the benefits of those schemes in order to reach decisions that are in the best interests of the community as a whole. We believe that the right decision was made in this case.