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Roads (Maintenance)

Volume 930: debated on Wednesday 20 April 1977

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37.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether, in view of the continuing cut-back in overall road maintenance expenditure by local authorities, he will revise the terms of Circular 1/77 with regard to transport supplementary grant submissions for 1978–79 with a view to making it clear that the drop in these maintenance standards is not proving unacceptable to local authorities.

No. It remains the responsibility of local authorities to decide how and for what purpose they distribute their funds, and to establish their priorities in the maintenance of their roads.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether, in view of the numerous complaints which have been made by local authorities in their transport policies and programme submissions of 1977, he will review and modify as necessary the statement in the annual circular issued by his Department with regard to such submissions to the effect that the drop in maintenance standards has not yet proved unacceptable.

No. I see no reason at present to modify the terms of the annual circular. It remains the responsibility of local authorities to decide how they apportion resources within the local transport field, and to establish their own road maintenance priorities.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether the cost, in terms of extra maintenance and rebuilding inadequate foundations, of under-estimating the traffic forecast to use particular roads as in the case of the Anstey-Coleshill section of the M6, will in future be brought to the attention of the Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment.

We do not yet know the extent to which damage to the road was a result of under-estimating the traffic. The Committee's terms of reference do, however, include a requirement to review the Department's methods of traffic forecasting and its application of the forecasts.