HC Deb 18 June 1941 vol 372 cc639-40
32. Colonel A. Evans

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether he is aware that, owing to the continued existence of the Penarth toll-gate heavy lorries conveying war material and foodstuffs, besides other vehicles, use the alternative route over Leckwith Hill, thus consuming additional petrol; and whether, in view of present conditions, he is prepared, in conjunction with local authorities, to take immediate steps in the public interest to acquire this and all other remaining toll-gates in the country?

Colonel Llewellin

I am making inquiries about the case in question and will communicate with my hon. and gallant Friend. It would be quite impracticable, in present conditions, to arrange for purchase and extinction of road tolls generally.

Colonel Evans

If that is impracticable, would it not be possible and, indeed, desirable for the Minister of Transport to arrange with the owners concerned that these toll gates should be thrown open for the period of the war, and for the situation to be reviewed thereafter?

Colonel Llewellin

I am looking into the particular case to which my hon. and gallant Friend has referred. It may be a case where something of this sort ought to be done.

Captain Cunningham-Reid

Does the continuation of these toll gates conform with modern conditions?

Colonel Llewellin

I have found that there are complications in this matter. The local highways authorities are the people who have the power to purchase out the right of the toll-gate owner, and they do not wish in all cases to spend ratepayers' money on buying out these toll rights.

Mr. G. Strauss

But have not the Government ample powers to deal with this matter under Defence of the Realm Regulations?

Colonel Llewellin

In any case where this matter is holding up the war effort we should certainty do so. My remark referred only to toll gates generally, and some of them, by being toll gates, do not in the least impede the war effort.

Mr. Mainwaring

If the Germans landed, would they be charged admission?