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Volume 463: debated on Monday 28 March 1949

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London—Holyhead Road (Subsidence)

18, 19 and 20.

asked the Minister of Transport (1) what mileage of dual-carriageway road construction there is on the main A.5, London to Holyhead road, on the 160 miles between London and Shrewsbury;

(2) how much of the main London to Holyhead road is in danger of subsiding;

(3) how many humped-back and narrow bridges there are on the main London to Holyhead road, A.5, between London and Shrewsbury.

The only part of the London—Holyhead trunk road known to be affected by subsidence is a length of three miles near Brownhills, Staffordshire, where colliery workings cause slight subsidence. On the London—Shrewsbury portion of this road, which does not follow A.5 all the way, there are 11 miles of dual carriageways and three hump-backed and five narrow bridges.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this arterial road is in an appalling condition, and is he satisfied that it will take the additional traffic which will be necessitated by the Royal Show at Shrewsbury this year?

We shall keep the fact of the show in mind, but broadly speaking this road is able to carry all the traffic which is using it at the moment.

Have the Ministry of Transport no immediate plans for the improvement of this road?

Travel Facilities, London (Report)


asked the Minister of Transport when he will publish the report of the working party established by the British Transport Commission relating to travel facilities in London.

This report is with the printers and will, I hope, be available in about six weeks' time.

Would my hon. Friend endeavour to expedite the issue of this report, and if it cannot be issued from the printers in less than six weeks, would it be possible to place a summary or an advance copy in the Library? I ask that in view of the particular interest in the report in North London, owing to the fact that priority is being given to development in South London pending publication of the report.

This is a long-range project which will involve many years' work. I do not think that six weeks is an unreasonable time.

Is there included in this report any proposal to extend the Underground to Brixton, Streatham and on to Croydon?

London—Dover Road (Signs)


asked the Minister of Transport what progress has been made with the signposting of the Dover—London Road; what is the estimated cost per mile; and when it is proposed to make a start on the other main roads.

Work is about to start on the Dover—London road in erecting a new set of road signs and re-siting many others at a cost of about £50 per mile. Signposting should be finished by June if delivery by manufacturers runs to time. Considerable progress has been made by local highway authorities in improving the signposting of other main roads.

Will the hon. Gentleman first say why there has been this appalling delay; and secondly whether we have to wait until this road is finished before the other main trunk roads are adequately dealt with?

In reply to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, there has been no delay. The answer to the second part is that he obviously could not have heard me say that considerable progress has already been made on other main roads.

Can the hon. Gentleman say how the cost of £50 per mile compares with the pre-war cost for this work?

Traffic Diversions (Local Authorities)


asked the Minister of Transport whether local authorities are allowed to make a permanent diversion of traffic without the authority of a statutory instrument.

Yes, Sir. Local authorities may make orders, subject to my right hon. Friend's confirmation, to regulate the movement of traffic on all roads except trunk roads. Such orders are not statutory instruments. My right hon. Friend makes statutory instruments for the regulation of traffic on trunk roads and roads in the London traffic area.

Can the Minister say whether a local authority has power to declare a street a one-way street, without reference to the Minister?

No, Sir, not permanently. In some places the police have power to make temporary diversions.

Cattle Grids (Legislation)


asked the Minister of Transport if he will introduce legislation to make it possible for a local authority to erect cattle grids on a public highway.

My right hon. Friend is in favour of such legislation and is awaiting a suitable opportunity for introducing it.

Is my hon. Friend aware that many projects for increasing food production are held up because there are no grids on roads over places like Exmoor, and could he, pending the introduction of legislation, ask the local authorities to get their plans and estimates ready so that there shall be as little delay as possible?

Some highway authorities have already constructed the grids, assuming the legal position: and, without prejudice to the legality of the matter, my right hon. Friend is prepared to consider grants in certain cases.

C Licences


asked the Minister of Transport the average monthly increase in C licences during 1948.


asked the Minister of Transport the number of C licences issued during 1948, the number outstanding, and the number of C licence operators at 31st December, 1948, and at the latest available date.

The net number of additional vehicles for which C licences were issued during 1948 was 103,365. I do not know the number of outstanding applications but it is small. The total number of C licence operators was 311,811 with 590,516 vehicles at 31st December, 1948, and 315,279 with 597,698 vehicles at the end of January, 1949.

In view of the fact that the number of C licences has increased during 1948 in the same proportion as during 1947, can my hon. Friend inform me whether his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport has completed his exhaustive inquiry, which he promised last June, into the cause of the increase, and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?

In view of the lack of any assurance being given so far to this last remaining freedom in the transport world, may we have an assurance from the Government that they will resist this attack on the C licence holder?