HC Deb 19 May 1954 vol 527 cc2069-74
10. Mr. Page

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will introduce a speed limit of 25 miles per hour in a selected town for an experimental period.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. Hugh Molson)

While I appreciate the motives underlying my hon. Friend's suggestion, I do not think that it would serve a useful purpose. A maximum speed of 30 miles per hour has been accepted for many years as reasonable in built-up areas, and pedestrians as well as motorists are accustomed to it.

Mr. Page

May I ask my hon. Friend whether the Minister is prepared to carry out any experiments with a view to reviewing the present speed limits?

Mr. Molson

I do not think that there is any need for that. As recently as 1949, the Ministry of Transport asked the Committee on Road Safety to make a report on this matter. The Committee included representatives of the Police, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and also the Pedestrians' Association, of which my hon. Friend is the chairman. It expressed the view that the existing 30 miles per hour limit was reasonable and accepted as such by the public.

Mr. Rankin

Surely if the motorist has become accustomed to a speed limit of 30 miles per hour there is no reason why he cannot become accustomed for an experimental period to a speed limit of 25 miles per hour?

Mr. Molson

For no fewer than 27 years 20 miles per hour was the maximum speed limit, and it was found to be unsatisfactory and was abolished in 1930.

Mr. Keenan

Is the Minister aware that many towns are now concerned about the speed limit which is in existence, and is it not a fact that since the time he mentioned there has been an increasing number of accidents—and the faster they go the more accidents there are? Is there not a case for the reduction of the speed limit in the towns?

Mr. Molson

The majority of accidents in this country are in those areas where there is a speed limit.

17. Mr. Chapman

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation from which sections of the main Bristol road, within the boundaries of the city of Birmingham, he is considering removal of the 30 miles per hour speed limit; and when his decision can be expected.

Mr. Molson

My right hon. Friend has asked the Birmingham City Council to de-restrict the section of Bristol Road South which lies between Weoley Park Road, Selly Oak, and St. Lawrence Road, Northfield, and is awaiting the council's reply.

Mr. Chapman

When the Minister decides to de-restrict this area, will he hold a meeting locally so that full objections to his scheme can be properly heard?

Mr. Molson

My right hon. Friend has made a request to the Birmingham City Council, and to deal with what might happen if they decline to agree to what he proposes would be to answer a hypothetical question.

18. Mr. Chapman

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will list the causes of the 59 road accidents which occurred in the past three years on the section of Bristol Road South, Birmingham, between the Austin Motor Works and Rubery.

Mr. Molson

As the answer involves tabulated figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Chapman

Is the Minister aware that his figures relate to the three years ending December, 1952, and that the more recent figures to 30th April this year indicate that over a three years' period the figures have gone up by at least 25 per cent.? Will he, therefore, now revise or review his decision not to impose a 30 miles an hour speed limit? The chief constable of Birmingham states in a letter to me that he is in favour of such a speed limit. Why is the opinion of this chief official of the city disregarded?

Mr. Molson

I am aware that there has been an increase in the number of accidents since the figures I gave last week. I have, however, had some census figures on the road prepared, and it appears that the average number of accidents a year per thousand vehicles per day per mile on this stretch of road was only 1½ injury accidents as compared with an average for the whole country in similar circumstances of seven or eight. There is, therefore, no justification for introducing a speed limit.

Following are the figures:

  2. cc2072-3
  3. Dartford—Purfleet Tunnel 365 words
  4. cc2073-4
  5. High Wycombe 314 words
  6. c2074
  7. Accidents, Leicester 189 words
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