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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 July 2006, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Plans to extend M6 toll scrapped
Map showing existing and proposed M6 toll
Plans for an extension of the M6 toll road have been scrapped in favour of a scheme to widen the motorway.

The expressway would have run parallel to the M6 from junction 11a, north Birmingham, to junction 19 in Cheshire.

Transport minister, Stephen Ladyman, said a toll road would have been too expensive and required too much land.

He announced that the M6 would be widened by one lane in each direction in a scheme that could be completed by 2017.

'One extra lane'

A review carried out by the Highways Agency concluded the toll road would be harder to construct than first thought and widening the motorway could be done quicker.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Teaching people basic lane discipline would solve most of the M6's problems
Matt, UK

The toll road would require 50% more land than the widening option and would cost 15% more. Its construction would cause significant disruption to the existing M6 too, the report said.

Mr Ladyman said: "Having considered all the options I am clear the right way forward is for the Highways Agency to focus on delivering one extra lane in each direction on the M6.

"We have carried out detailed analysis and the extra works and land required and the costs involved do not support further work on the expressway."

The Highways Agency will now prepare detailed proposals for the widening scheme.

'Highly-damaging and costly'

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said it was relieved by the announcement but disappointed that the widening scheme would go forward.

Policy director Neil Sindon said the expressway scheme was highly-damaging and costly.

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

"The government promises to restrain the growth in traffic on the widened motorway and we'll be watching to see if they deliver," he said.

Stafford MP, David Kidney, was also relieved the expressway plans had been cancelled but added he remained concerned at "grandiose" schemes to widen the motorway.

"I thank everyone in Staffordshire who gave voice to the deep opposition that is felt in the County against this idea.

"The expressway would be a massively disruptive project, bringing a second extremely busy road next to thousands of people's homes - with all the noise, fumes and vibration that come with it."

He added he intended to meet Mr Ladyman to discuss plans for a public consultation over the widening scheme.

The National Alliance Against Tolls said it was worried road users may end up paying tolls to use the existing road.




SEE ALSO
M6 plans anger rural campaigners
10 Jan 06 |  Manchester
Plans for second M6 toll laid out
10 Jan 06 |  Manchester
'No consensus' on second M6 toll
19 Jul 05 |  Manchester

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