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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 October, 2004, 05:39 GMT 06:39 UK
Region to assess new M6 toll plan
Traffic on the M6
A plan to widen the road to six lanes was overlooked
Plans for a controversial major new toll motorway are to go before a regional assembly on Thursday.

The West Midlands Regional Assembly will consider the plan for the 50-mile "M6 Expressway" from north of Birmingham to just south of Manchester.

The Department for Transport's plan is fiercely opposed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and other environmental groups.

Ministers favour the toll motorway plan over widening the existing M6.

The regional assembly, a lobbying and planning group, will decide on Thursday whether or not to support the plan, which is said to be a threat to wildlife in the area.

The meeting is taking place on the last day of a public consultation process which began in July.

Environmental pressure group Transport 2000 said it had been told that for every submission sent in favour of the scheme, there had been 18 opposed to it.

Traffic fears

The tollway would stretch from junction 11a on the M6 to junction 19, at Knutsford, or possibly junction 20.

It would run through rolling countryside in Cheshire and Staffordshire.

A government commissioned study recommended widening the road from four to six lanes in each direction, but ministers believed a new tollway would be less disruptive to motorists.

Transport 2000 said the tollway would encourage people to use their cars and do nothing to ease traffic on the road.

The CPRE said options that would have improved public transport choices were not fully explored.

It said the tollway plan contradicted a government decision in 2002 to widen the M6.

It said it feared this could represent a move toward a major tollway building programme.

Protesters rally against M6 plans
16 Oct 04  |  West Midlands
Anger over M6 Toll extension plan
07 Oct 04  |  Staffordshire

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