HC Deb 18 July 1949 vol 467 cc953-6
29. Sir Wavell Wakefield

asked the Minister of Transport if he can give an estimate as to the total capital expenditure which will be necessary to improve road facilities in the London area during the period in which it is proposed by the London Plan Working Party of the British Transport Commission that £340 million should be spent on improving rail transport in that area.

Mr. Barnes

Until development plans have been prepared and approved by the various planning authorities responsible for the Greater London areas, it will be quite impossible to give any estimate such as that required by the hon. Member.

Sir W. Wakefield

In view of the fact that the total amount of capital expenditure which presumably is to be spent on both roads and railways is known, how is it that one amount, for railways, is stated and another amount, for road improvements, which are just as urgently needed, is not known?

Mr. Barnes

With regard to the London railway plan, the hon. Member will bear in mind that there was a separate and exhaustive examination. It more or less came under one body which could go into the whole matter. In dealing with the roads, a number of planning authorities are involved and their plans are not yet developed to the extent necessary for us to form a definite estimate.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Will my right hon. Friend give an undertaking that this expenditure will not be proceeded with until the urgent needs of the large industrial areas of Lancashire and North Staffordshire have been considered?

Mr. Barnes

I do not know what expenditure my hon. Friend is referring to. I must have notice of that question.

39. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Minister of Transport, in view of the proposals which are made in the London Plan Working Party Report relating to river bridges, what steps it is proposed to take to relate these plans to bridges for carrying road traffic; and whose responsibility it will be to ensure that in the final plans with regard to cross river traffic both road and rail are properly co-ordinated.

41. Mr. David Renton

asked the Minister of Transport, in view of the publication of the London Plan Working Party Report proposing an ultimate expenditure of some £340 million on improving railway communications in the London area, what steps are to be taken to co-ordinate this plan with plans for relieving the present road traffic conditions in the London area and improving London road facilities in general.

Mr. Barnes

Before any decisions are taken on the proposals in the Report, the traffic and planning authorities will be consulted. The responsibility for ensuring proper co-ordination between such proposals and plans for roads and road bridges rests upon the local planning authorities and the Government. The Government have the need for such co-ordination fully in mind.

Sir T. Moore

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is considerable anxiety in the public mind, and has been for some time, in regard to the future traffic—the road and the cross-river traffic—of London? Will he take some steps to induce his colleagues in the Government to get out plans as soon as possible so that rebuilding and reconstruction can start at last?

Mr. Stokes

Was it not the Lord President of the Council who did more to relieve this congestion than anybody of the Opposition parties?

Mr. Barnes

The capital expenditure is so considerable that I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the Government, in particular, will consider this very carefully.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Before proceeding with these plans, will my right hon. Friend consider the urgent needs of the great industrial areas of Lancashire and North Staffordshire?

Mr. Henry Strauss

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the plans prepared by Sir Patrick Abercrombie and his colleagues are very directly affected by these new proposals? Is it proposed to invite Sir Patrick to comment on this report before action is taken?

Mr. Barnes

I could not say, With regard to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. Ellis Smith) about Lancashire and North Staffordshire, I should like to suggest to him that the traffic problem in London is just as acute as, if not more acute than, that in any other part of the country.

Colonel Clarke

Will the Minister bear in mind that the under-bridge river traffic is very important, too, and that the cost of electricity and gas in London is largely dependent on facilities given to the ships?