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Volume 244: debated on Wednesday 12 November 1930

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Traffic Census, Oxford


asked the Minister of Transport if he can state, from figures obtained at the last vehicle census taken by the Ministry, what was the number of vehicles passing through Oxford from the Midlands, the North, and the West, and vice versa; what proportion of these were through motor coach services; and haw many were heavy goods lorries

According to a census of traffic taken at Magdalen Bridge, Oxford, in 1928, the average daily number of vehicles was 22,584. These figures include 1,218 motor omnibuses and motor coaches and 1,746 goods motor vehicles, but the statistics do not enable me to differentiate between local and through traffic.

Steam-Driven Vehicles


asked the Minister of Transport what proportion of the 331,906 licences issued for goods road motor vehicles current at the end of May are in respect of steam-propelled vehicles of the lorry and tractor type, respectively; and whether any other country permits the passage through the streets of cities of steam-driven lorries?

I am unable to state how many licences for goods vehicles current at the end of May were issued in respect of steamdriven vehicles but the census of mechanically-propelled road vehicles taken during the quarter ended September, 1929, showed that there were then 8,520 goods vehicles driven by steam. Tractors are separately classified and are not included in the figure quoted by the hon. and gallant Member. As regards the last part of the question, I have no information.

Will the hon. Gentleman make inquiries as to whether any other countries permit these heavy steam vehicles to go through the streets emitting sparks?

With regard to sparks, regulations can be made, and are under consideration, under the Road Traffic Act, 1930.

Oxford By-Pass Road Scheme


asked the Minister of Transport in what stage are the negotiations between the Oxford City Corporation, the Berkshire County Council and the Ministry of Transport in regard to the by-pass road, plans of which have been prepared for the diversion of through traffic from the streets of Oxford; whether the point at which the road will cross the river has yet been decided; how soon is it thought that work will be commenced on this project; if the by-pass to the north of Oxford, which will run via Headington to Eynsham, has been finally approved; and, if so, when work will be commenced?

I am aware that a, scheme for the diversion of through traffic from the streets of Oxford, which would involve the crossing of the river, has been under consideration by the authorities concerned but no application for assistance from the Road Fund has yet been made. The Berkshire County Council have, however, submitted a scheme for the construction of a new road between South Hinksey and North Hinksey, which road will enable traffic to by-pass Oxford on the South. The county council have been informed that the scheme is approved in principle for a grant from the Road Fund, and I hope that there will be no avoidable delay in the commencement of the work. The preliminary details of the northern by-pass are now being examined with a view to approval in principle being given. I am informed that if the scheme is approved it is hoped to commence the works early next year.

Is the Minister of Transport aware that heavy traffic passing through Oxford is doing very serious damage to buildings of every kind, and will he take steps to hasten the construction of this by-pass so as to avoid this danger?

I am fully aware of the particular difficulties which exist in the city of Oxford, and I have taken very great trouble to try and put the matter right, but I must depend for success upon the active co-operation of all the local authorities concerned.

Road Surface


asked the Minister of Transport if the experiments made by his Department have indicated which is the best road surface from the point of view of visibility at night?

The answer is in the negative. It seems doubtful whether any one material could be proved to be invariably the best from the point of view of visibility at night under all the widely varying climatic and traffic conditions to which roads are subject.

Glasgow-Edinburgh Road


asked the Minister of Transport the approximate date when the Glasgow-Edinburgh road will be completed; and what are the reasons for the delay with the work?

I am informed that the full extent of the Glasgow-Edinburgh road will probably be available for traffic before the end of the year, with the exception of short bypasses at Salsburgh, Bankhead and Newbridge, although the final surfacing operations may not be entirely completed for the whole distance. It is, however, anticipated that the whole will be completed during the coming year. The delay which has taken place is partly due to the negotiations with the railway companies with regard to bridges and in part to the fact that the constructional work on seven miles of the existing road was postponed until the cost of the other sections could be more closely determined.

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that every effort is being made to give employment on this road to the unemployed in that area?

As far as the present Government are concerned, certainly; I cannot answer for the last one.

Bridge Scheme, Queensferry


asked the Minister of Transport the present position in connection with the proposed Forth road-bridge at Queensferry; and whether the Government, in considering the question of financial assistance, has taken into account the reduction in unemployment that would be effected by proceeding with the construction of the proposed bridge?

Certain technical proposals are still being examined. In considering the matter the fullest weight will be given to the effect which such a scheme would produce upon unemployment.

London Traffic


asked the Minister of Transport whether it is intended to introduce before Christmas the Measure for the co-ordination of London traffic?

Can the hon. Gentleman give any indication when this Measure will be produced?

That seems to me to be a question for the Leader of the House and not for me.

Motoring Offences (Returns)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider the desirability of keeping a complete record of all cases affecting motorists which may come up in the courts during the year 1931, so that it will be possible better to gauge the actual operation of the Road Traffic Act?

Under existing arrangements information is available concerning all motoring offences, and returns have been laid before Parliament, the latest having been printed this summer, as House of Commons Paper 139. There is no intention of altering these arrangements and in due course returns will be prepared first for 1930 and later for 1931.