HC Deb 26 November 1951 vol 494 cc850-1
7. Sir Austin Hudson

asked the Minister of Supply whether he will make arrangements with the local authorities concerned to take up the disused tramway tracks in London in order that they may be used as scrap metal.

Mr. Sandys

Discussions are at present taking place between the Ministry of Supply, the Ministry of Transport and the local authorities on this matter.

Sir A. Hudson

Is my right hon. Friend likely to come to some conclusion soon, because I believe the local authorities are waiting for the Government on this very important matter?

Mr. Sandys

We are trying to expedite it as much as possible. Quite a lot of scrap steel could be obtained, amounting we expect to about 30,000 tons, and we recognise the importance of it.

Mr. C. W. Gibson

In view of the great financial difficulties of all the London local authorities in undertaking this work, is the right hon. Gentleman considering some form of financial help?

Mr. Sandys

That is just one of the questions which is under consideration, namely the financial cost. It is quite considerable.

Mr. Thomas Price

Is it not a fact that in other places where tramways have been discontinued it has usually been found that the cost of taking up the tram tracks exceeds the value of the steel that is recovered? [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"] In Manchester, for example.

Mr. Sandys

The cost is inevitably heavy, but tramway lines have been recovered from 10 provincial cities, and the possibility of recovering such tracks from other places is being examined. The cost is heavy, but we must also take into consideration the cost of road repairs in doing away with the tramways.