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M-way ruling relief.

Byline: By Steve Williams

GREEN campaigners today reacted with relief after the government scrapped plans for a pounds 3.5 billion motorway toll road through one of the most congested areas of Britain.

The 50-mile M6 Expressway from north of Birmingham to south of Manchester would have been too expensive and require too much land, said Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman.

Instead, the M6 will be widened by one lane in each direction, he said.

The expressway would have run broadly parallel with the M6 between junction 11A north of Birmingham to junction 19 in Cheshire.

The Highways Agency has carried out a detailed review of the option of building the expressway.

It was decided that the expressway would be more difficult to construct than initially believed and could not be built more quickly than the widening, which could be done by 2017.

The expressway would require 50 per cent more land than the widening option and would cost 15 per cent more. Also its construction would introduce significant disruption to the existing M6.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) reacted with relief to the announcement, but said it was very disappointed that a scheme to widen the M6 scheme would now go forward.

CPRE policy director Neil Sinden said: "Thank goodness the government has finally admitted what a daft, highly-damaging and costly scheme the expressway would have been - and dropped it.

"But the M6 widening will be extremely expensive and generate lots of additional road traffic.

Tony Bosworth, of Friends of the Earth, said the government should focus on improving buses and trains rather than waste money widening motorways.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 21, 2006
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