HC Deb 28 January 1942 vol 377 cc702-3
25. Sir Reginald Clarry

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what progress has been made with the provision of snow-ploughs and other equipment, and of the service required to operate them, in order to prevent road traffic on the trunk road, A6, from Preston to Carlisle by way of Shap, from being delayed by snow or ice?

Colonel Llewellin

On the length of road over Shap Fells most liable to be blocked by snow two heavy snow-ploughs are stationed. Special telephones have been installed for the operation of a shuttle system of traffic, if necessary. Stacks of grit have been provided along the road and police arrangements at Kendal and Penrith will enable traffic to be diverted to an alternative route if the need arises.

Sir R. Clarry

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that the arrangements mentioned in the reply are not borne out by the facts of the recent cold spell, and that many hundreds of vehicles were immobilised on either side of the road?

Colonel Llewellin

Vehicles may have been immobilised, but the road was open throughout.

Captain Strickland

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that this state of affairs existed on many main roads, and was this road one of the roads he had in mind when he assured us on 27th October last that he was satisfied that all equipment was prepared to meet such exigencies as have arisen, not only on this road but on the Coventry-Birmingham road?

Colonel Llewellin

This road was in mind, and we have kept it open.

Mr. Levy

Is it sufficient for the Minister to say that the road was kept open when, as a matter of fact, it was unusable, and might as well have been closed?

Colonel Llewellin

I do not think it was unusable. The snow was cleared so that traffic could use it. Whether it was so icebound that some vehicles got off the road, I do not know, but equipment has been provided and the clearing has been done.

Mr. George Griffiths

Can the Minister see that it shall not freeze any more?