asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many applications for pedestrian crossings have been made and approved, respectively, in respect of the county of Essex during the past year.
Of 14 applications for pelican crossings, five were approved and three are still under consideration. My approval is not required for zebra crossings.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, for example, in Buckhurst Hill and Loughton in my constituency there are several spots where terrible accidents have occurred and it is very difficult to get appropriate action? Does not the Department think that this is rather over-centralised and that local authorities should have more discretion in such matters?
I think the difficulty in the example the hon. Gentleman quoted was that the proposed crossing was very near a junction and it would have given rise to traffic difficulties. The initiative in all these cases is for the local authority when it makes the site proposals. We have extended the use of the pelican crossing. As I have said, we do not seek to control zebra crossings. We have extended the criteria for pelican crossings and when we are satisfied that the scheme is working well we shall probably be able to relax that control too.