HC Deb 06 May 1931 vol 252 cc384-6

asked the Minister of Transport when the Oxford Street traffic control signals will be in operation; whether these installations are of foreign manufacture; and what is the reason for the delay in their completion?


I hope that traffic control signals will be in operation in Oxford Street by the end of June. Many authorities had to be consulted and the preliminary arrangements have taken some time, but since the order for the material was placed there has been no delay either in delivery or in the work of erection. The signalling apparatus (as distinct from poles, cables, etc.) is to be of foreign manufacture because, when the question of controlling traffic in this way in Oxford Street was first investigated, no British firms were manufacturing or had any experience of the type of signals required. I am glad to say that in this respect the position has improved and in connection with future installations importance is attached to encouragement of British manufacture so far as possible.


Will the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that in future only British firms will be allowed to supply these signals?


I have indicated to the hon. Gentleman to-day, as I have before, that every endeavour will be made to secure signals of British manufacture, but I cannot go further than that.


Will my right hon. Friend not consider the safety of the public first?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that signalling apparatus of the highest efficiency is now being made in Birmingham?


asked the Minister of Transport the total number of installations of automatic traffic control signals which have been approved for grants by his Department; how many of these are of foreign and British manufacture, respectively; and what is the average length of time taken by his Department before approval is given?


The total number of installations approved for grants up to 30th April is 333. Of these

87 were of British manufacture;

226 were manufactured by American firms who claim that their equipment is mainly of British manufacture;

in 20 cases the selection of the equipment has not yet been decided.

When the question of installing these signals first began to be considered, British firms had had little experience in their designs and manufacture, but I am glad to say that the position has altered in this respect and preference is now given to home manufactures where possible. Taking the applications which had been received since the beginning of August last, the average length of time which has elapsed from the date of application to the date of the issue of grant has been 11 weeks.