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Road Traffic Forecasts (Report)

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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14.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to publish the Leitch Report.

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he proposes to publish the report of the committee on road traffic forecasts presided over by Sir George Leitch.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that road forecasting is a major factor in road costing, that many forecasts have been wrong, and that we need a truer costing of roads in terms of money and the environment?

Yes, I agree with my hon. Friend. Traffic forecasting is an extremely difficult matter, and the Leitch Committee was appointed for the reasons that my hon. Friend mentioned. We think that these decisions are important and that we must get them right.

Although we hope that the Leitch Report will be helpful, is it not absurd that the Minister should make decisions on traffic forecasts that are three years out of date? Will he take note of the fact that the standard of living has been virtually stagnant in that period and that oil prices have increased? Will he give an assurance that he will make no decisions in future without up-to-date forecasts?

That is a somewhat unfair rendering of the nature of the problem. I know that the hon. Gentleman has his own problems, but we cannot stop making decisions because committees of inquiry are taking place. That would be a bad principle in government, as elsewhere.