HC Deb 26 January 1953 vol 510 cc655-6
23. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that, on several occasions during the current winter, highway authorities have not commenced to apply grit to icy roads or to remove snow until 9 or 10 a.m. following a fall of snow or icing conditions during the previous night; and whether, in view of the delay thus caused to essential road transport, he will take steps to ensure that remedial action is taken by highway authorities at an earlier hour.

Mr. Braithwaite

I am well aware of the need to deal with snow and ice at the earliest moment, and I think that, on the whole, highway authorities take all practicable steps to this end. The question is under constant review between the authorities and this Department. Delays are sometimes unavoidable because resources are not unlimited.

Mr. Janner

Is the Minister aware that that is not an altogether satisfactory reply? Will he direct his attention to the fact that these incidents have occurred and to the desirability of their not recurring and give instruction accordingly?

Mr. Braithwaite

Yes, Sir. We have been active in the matter. Arrangements have been made with the Meteorological Office to give early warning to local authorities of snow or icing conditions, and arrangements for supplying additional labour have been made with the Ministry of Labour, the War Office, the R.A.F. and the Air Ministry Works Directorate. My right hon. Friend maintains a number of snow ploughs at suitable places throughout the country to be made available as needed.

Mr. Lewis

Is the Minister aware that the City of London Corporation have a magnificent method of clearing their streets within a matter of a few hours? Surely what they can do other boroughs could do.

Mr. Braithwaite

Perhaps the hon. Member will convey to his hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner) the excellent record of this Conservative local authority.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Is my hon. Friend aware that no other country in the world sands and grits its roads as early as we do?