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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Minister orders M74 inquiry
Kingston Bridge (Freefoto)
The road will link to the M8 at Kingston
A public inquiry will be held into the proposed M74 extension, Scotland's transport minister has announced.

Nicol Stephen said the hearing would take place in Glasgow later this year.

More than 375 objections have been lodged to the proposals, which could cost up to 500m.

"The proposed completion of the M74 is a very significant transport project and it is right that those who have concerns are given the chance to have their say," said Mr Stephen.

"It is important that a public local inquiry is held to allow those views to be heard. In the meantime work will continue in order to reach agreement on issues which can be resolved."

The three-lane road will join the M74 in South Lanarkshire to the M8 at Kingston in Glasgow.

An inquiry allows an opportunity for the executive to see sense and dump this highly destructive project
Duncan McLaren
Friends of the Earth Scotland

The missing five mile stretch will cost between 375m and 500m to complete.

The Scottish Executive believes that the project will reduce congestion in the city.

It has also been estimated that 350 jobs will be created during construction, followed by a further 12,000 in areas regenerated by investment in the road.

However, the project is opposed by the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Green Party.

A campaign against the road has been mounted by JAM74 (Joint Action against the M74), a coalition of community, environmental and sustainable transport groups.

Nicol Stephen
Nicol Stephen said the inquiry would be held later this year
The draft road orders and draft compulsory purchase orders were published in March, sparking 379 objections.

They included more than 40 statutory objections from people whose businesses or properties are proposed for compulsory purchase.

Friends of the Earth Scotland's chief executive, Duncan McLaren, said the inquiry was "long overdue".

"It is imperative that there is a review of this motorway project, which threatens so much harm to the residents of south Glasgow and to the environment," he said.

"The minister's announcement of an inquiry allows an opportunity for the executive to see sense and dump this highly destructive project.

Inquiry welcomed

"We have serious concerns about the planning procedure whereby the developer, the Scottish Executive, is also the planning authority."

The inquiry was welcomed by the Scottish Greens.

Glasgow list MSP Patrick Harvie said it was "just what we've been asking for".

Transport spokesperson Chris Balance added: "The inquiry must look at the wider question of whether the same investment in public transport would be a more inclusive, less polluting and equally efficient solution to traffic congestion.

The M74 extension is the missing link in the motorway infrastructure in the west of Scotland
David Mundell
Tory transport spokesman
"Even the executive's own road officials accept that the building of this road will generate extra traffic."

However, Scottish Tory transport spokesman David Mundell accused Mr Stephen of "an appalling lack of leadership" and urged the executive to "get on with it".

"This inquiry is nothing but a sop to anarchists like (Scottish Socialist MSP) Rosie Kane who have objected to this vital extension all along, and who have no interest in improving transport or the economy," he said.

"The M74 extension is the missing link in the motorway infrastructure in the west of Scotland.

"Unfortunately, this project now has the characteristics of all Scottish government road-building projects: delay, delay, delay and dither, dither, dither."


SEE ALSO:
Parties unite to fight M74 plans
11 May 03  |  Scotland
Start date for 250m 'missing link'
02 May 02  |  Scotland
Road plan 'offers job hopes'
11 Sep 00  |  Scotland


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