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West Country (Holiday Traffic)

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1961

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asked the Minister of Transport what estimate he has made of the delay caused to holiday traffic proceeding to the West Country; what is the number of cars estimated to be entering Devon and Cornwall during holiday weeks; and what steps he will take to provide an adequate motorway that will prevent this frustration to the travelling public.

Figures from this year's traffic census are not yet available. I know that holiday traffic to the West Country is delayed, but only at a limited number of weekends. Certain road improvements are being made to help the flow of traffic, but the main objective of our road programme must for some time remain the improvement of the heavy industrial routes.

Is not that reply, that road traffic to the West country is sometimes delayed, the greatest under-statement of the year? Is it not a fact that at holiday time people are held up for up to twelve hours, with consequent tremendous frustration for industrial people whose only opportunity comes at that time each year to get away from it all for two weeks? Although we must give some priority to industry, does not the Minister think that he is taking a lopsided view of the purpose of life if the subject of leisure is completely eliminated from his consideration?

No, Sir. I do not think so. We really have to concentrate on the improvement of the heavy industrial roads. It would be a waste of money to spend large sums in improving roads in certain holiday areas which would be heavily used only at limited periods of the year. In practice, there is, I think, a tendency emerging for people to spread their journeys over the twenty-four hours and not to concentrate them so much on certain times of the day.