asked the Minister of Transport why no British Government representative is serving on the ad hoc working party appointed by the Sub-Committee on Road Transport of the Inland Transport Committee, and set up by the Economic Commission for Europe, for the purpose of implementing the highway construction programme for Western Europe approved by the Commission; and whether, in view of the importance of the international development of roads, steps will be taken to provide for the representation of this country.
It is the policy of His Majesty's Government to play a full part in the work of the Inland Transport Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe at Geneva. My hon. Friend will appreciate, however, that international road traffic between this country and the Continent is on a small scale compared with that between the countries of continental Europe. The agenda of the meeting of the particular ad hoc working party to which my hon. Friend refers did not appear to me to justify the attendance of a representative from my Department.
Does not my right hon. Friend think that the future importance of the highways of Western Europe justifies his Department in showing a rather more lively interest in the matter?
We do take a lively interest, but when I considered the two main items of the agenda I did not think it worth either the time or expense of sending a representative.