HC Deb 13 December 1944 vol 406 cc1239-40
86. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport the policy as regards the construction of new motor roads from London to distant parts of the United Kingdom; the estimated cost of construction of such roads; will the local authorities concerned be consulted before the lay-out of any such road is decided on; and will the interests of agriculture, as well as the local amenities affected, be taken into consideration before any decisions are come to on this matter.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. Noel-Baker)

The Government propose to ask Parliament for the necessary powers to construct suitable lengths of road reserved for mechanically-propelled vehicles. The cost of building such roads is estimated at approximately £100,000 a mile, at pre-war prices. The local authorities concerned will, of course, be consulted, and if it is required, a public inquiry will be held before the plans are settled. As my Department's engineers work in the closest collaboration with the officers of the Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries and of Town and Country Planning, my hon. and gallant Friend need have no doubt that agricultural interests and the preservation of amenities will be fully considered.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is it a fact that these roads are to be something like 95 feet in width; and will there not be a very great loss of agricultural land in consequence of this waste of concrete being put across the country? Also will not farms be artificially divided by these roads; and will it be possible to have communications between the different parts of a farm?

Mr. Noel-Baker

We shall certainly do everything possible to maintain communications between different parts of farms and to adjust agricultural interests, as we do, when roads are being constructed. My hon. and gallant Friend must remember that traffic is going to increase very greatly, and that perhaps more agricultural land will be taken for widening existing roads than for constructing new roads, for traffic only.

Mr. Montague

Will my hon. Friend help to preserve for us a few Devonshire lanes?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I hope that this will preserve many of them.