§ The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Mr. Hore-Belisha)
As the hon. Member is no doubt aware, since he put his question on the Order Paper, progress has been made in the provision of crossing places for pedestrians in London, and revised Regulations have been brought into force. I am aiming at the provision of some 10,000 crossing places in the Central London Area of which some 5,000 have already been laid down. As to the provinces, I have issued a circular (of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy) to all local authorities concerned drawing attention to the provisions of Section 18 of the Road Traffic Act, 1934. I understand that these authorities are engaged, in consultation with the Chief Officers of Police, in framing schemes for the establishment of crossing places, and that these will be submitted to me in due course for approval, as the Act requires. A number of local authorities have, of 23 their own volition, laid down crossing places in their areas. The working of the crossing places in London is being carefully watched by my officers and the police authorities; and although some time must necessarily elapse before all pedestrians and drivers of vehicles conform to the rules upon which the success of the system depends, I am satisfied that the provision of the crossing places is already making for a more orderly use of the highway by all classes of road users.
§ Captain HAROLD BALFOUR
Is the Minister of Transport satisfied that these schemes of his are getting wide enough publicity?
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I am grateful for the additional publicity which the hon. and gallant Member has given.
§ Mr. WILMOT
Is the hon. Member aware that unlighted beacons are a source of extra danger at night in that the motorist is unaware that it is a crossing and the pedestrian thinks that he has the right of way?
§ Sir W. BRASS
May I ask why the present regulations have been brought into operation on the day when the House reassembles instead of waiting until Parliament has had an opportunity of debating them?
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
In reply to the hon. Member for East Fulham (Mr. Wilmot), I have learned in my brief experience that it is quite impossible to please everybody. With regard to the question of the hon. and gallant Member for Clitheroe (Sir W. Brass), I do not think that the House has been deprived of any opportunity. The regulations have come into force in order to meet the increasing number of crossings which have been put down.
§ Major BEAUMONT THOMAS
Is the Minister of Transport aware that many of his beacons have been erected in positions where they are quite invisible to approaching vehicles by day or night, and is it not a great mistake that his light should be hidden in any way under a bushel?
§ Sir WILLIAM DAVISON
Is the hon. Member aware that so numerous are these beacons in many streets that they have the appearance of an orange grove?