HC Deb 27 November 1950 vol 481 cc772-3
36. Mr. John MacLeod

asked the Minister of Transport when the last census of traffic on the roads in the seven crofter counties was taken.

Mr. Barnes

A census of traffic was taken on the roads in the seven crofter counties as part of the general traffic census held on Class I roads in 1938 and on Class II roads in 1939. The 1939 results were not collated owing to the outbreak of war and the latest census figures available for Class II roads are those obtained in 1936.

Mr. MacLeod

Is the Minister aware that that information means that his own information about the traffic on these roads is totally out of date? Does he realise that the greater number of these roads in the Highlands are quite unsuitable for modern traffic, and that the money spent on them is totally inadequate? What does the right hon. Gentleman propose to do about it?

Mr. Barnes

I would not agree that because these census figures were obtained before the war we are not aware generally of the state of traffic on the crofter county roads.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

Is the Minister aware that while the volume of traffic in the Highlands is probably increasing the condition of the roads is most certainly deteriorating?

Mr. Barnes

I note that the hon. Member says "probably increasing." I can assert that there has been a considerable improvement in the crofter county roads since these censuses were taken.

Sir William Darling

Does the Minister think it fair to the North of Scotland that a census of 16 years ago should be the basis on which he frames his present policy?