More motorway for Staffordshire?
Will the M6 be expanded to 4 lanes? Will the north of the county get a motorway toll road, just as the south of the county has? What will be the environmental impact? Join the debate!
This page was written in 2006. Please be aware that the opinions expressed on this page have to be seen in the context of that year - even though the issue continues to exercise minds today...
The M6 widening debate
Over the years, BBC Radio Stoke has been looking at the issues surrounding the widening of the M6 motorway in north Staffordshire. Add your comments to the debate by using the messageboard further down this page.
In 2006, we had a full studio debate on the issues we talk about on this page. Stephen Ladyman MP was one of the guests. Listen to the full debate by clicking on the link below:
Staffordshire TV also ran a series of films related to the M6 widening debate - watch the videos by clicking on the links below:
Join the debate online...
BBC Journalist Stuart Fear opens up the issues.....
If you asked a question and 98 percent of the replies were of the "NO" variety, then most of us would probably think that we had been given a definitive answer.
So why is the Government still working on plans to widen the M6 through Staffordshire and Cheshire, or to build another road alongside it, when the vast majority of replies during a consultation last year recorded an objection to one or the other, or both?
In fact, Stephen Ladyman, the Roads Minister, concluded in 2006: ..."that this very important route does need more capacity. By carrying out this further work, we will be able to look at the benefits and impacts of both schemes with a view to making a decision on a preferred option next year."
Following the building of the M6 Toll, the fact that the M6 is most busy thoroughfare in Europe, and that Staffordshire thus has three motorways passing through it (the other is the M54), not surprisingly his conclusion is not shared by everyone.
Gobble up land
The Council for the Protection of Rural England , for instance, wants the plans thrown out on the basis they would gobble up land and funnel more traffic into already congested cities like Stoke-on-Trent.
Transport 2000 thinks more motorway through the two counties would entrench, rather than lessen, that congestion.
On the other hand, the Government has been attacked for not pressing on with its plans to prevent traffic on the motorway from grinding to a halt.
The Freight Transport Association accused it of "prevarication" while the Road Haulage Association preferred "procrastination".
What should the Government choose?
Should it take the next exit and find another route - encourage the use of other forms of transport, perhaps?
Should it sit tight in the consultative congestion? After all, if the authorities want a new road, while the planning and consultation process may hold them up, they will get it in the end (M25, Newbury by-pass anyone?).
Or maybe it should pull onto the hard shoulder and put its foot down. If it prioritised more motorway through Staffordshire and Cheshire and put the full weight of government behind the project then, surely, the FTA and RHA could still get their way.
Questions & Thoughts
Has toll road been a success? Expecting 70,000 to 100,000 cars using the road, the actual figure was 40,000 to 50,000 (2006 figures).
Will there be Housing blight?
Hauliers want a new motorway. They say much of the traffic on the M6 is hauliers going to Liverpool - so they want a new motorway linking Birmingham and Liverpool on the route of the A41.
What public services will be affected?
Some campaigners argue public transport can take the strain... but is this true?
Two tier transport? If an expressway is the option chosen, is this effectively introducing first and second-class road travel - a two-tier system? Is this what we should be doing?
Whatever happens, there is no doubt that the future of the M6 has reached a major junction. If you were driving which way would you go?
The main conclusion from our look at the future of the M6 is probably that we can forget about the possibility of it not involving some kind of extra road-building.
The Chief Executive of North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, Bryan Carnes, was also there and gave a good example of why the government may be so determined to increase the capacity of the motorway link between the West Midlands and the North West. He told us of a company he'd spoken to in recent days which had widened its business because of the reliability and predictability provided by the existing M6 Toll in south Staffordshire.
The discussion underlined the fact that the future of the M6 is an issue that tends to polarise and the comments made on this page back that theory. But, from Stephen Ladyman's comments, it seems the government feels the debate has moved on. As far as it's concerned, the question to be asked now is not: "Should we build more motorway in Staffordshire and Cheshire?", but: "Where should we build more motorway?".
last updated: 04/01/2010 at 08:39
Have Your Say
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS. THIS BOARD IS NOW CLOSED.
Cllr Mark Winnington
John Gale (G.A.M.E)
cure the car !
Nett, Newcastle, Staffs
Mike Ryder, Madeley Heath. Crewe, Cheshire.
John Macfarlane, Alsager
win grimshaw lewis