§ Shona McIsaac
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will announce further additions to the targeted programme of trunk road improvements. 729W
§ Mr. Hill
At the time of the Roads Review in July 1998, we decided to take forward consideration of the A63 Melton Grade Separated Junction in Yorkshire. I can now confirm that following further work, including a full appraisal, and consultation with the regional planning body, the scheme has been added to the targeted programme of improvements. By removing three existing junctions the scheme will improve safety and reduce delays. It will also facilitate access to enable regeneration of a large area of brownfield land to the south of the A63 on the banks of the Humber. Draft orders for the scheme were published on 17 October.
Further additions to the programme will in general depend on the outcome of studies commissioned as a result of the Roads Review and priorities identified in the course of development of Regional Transport Strategies within the context of Regional Planning Guidance.
However, if the objectives of investment in trunk roads under the 10-Year Plan are to be delivered it is important that we make some immediate progress. Therefore, we have initiated consultations with regional planning bodies to consider possible targeted improvements to tackle problems on those parts of the core trunk road network not being considered within a study. As part of this exercise we will also consider whether decisions can be taken on taking forward some targeted improvements within the areas covered by studies without prejudicing the strategic context of the study in question or the emerging Regional Transport Strategy. Specific proposals for improvements will be evaluated using the New Approach to Appraisal to ensure they are consistent with our transport criteria of safety, economy, environmental impact accessibility and integration. We will make an announcement about the outcome of this exercise in the spring.
I can also confirm that work on the programme of 100 early action schemes to tackle localised safety and congestion problems on the trunk road announced at the time of the 10-Year Plan has begun. Copies of a leaflet showing the locations of these schemes have been placed in the Library.