HC Deb 23 March 1955 vol 538 cc2069-70
42. Mr. Page

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what steps he is taking to promote improved road lighting, having regard to the fact that despite the reduced traffic during a great part of the hours of darkness, nearly one-third of the casualties to adult road users occur during those hours.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I make contributions to lighting authorities of half the cost of installing and maintaining approved lighting systems on trunk roads. Increasing funds are being made available for this purpose. I am not empowered to provide financial assistance for street lighting on other roads, but it is evident from the volume of loan applications sponsored by my Department that local lighting authorities, whose responsibility this is, are providing new or improved lighting on a substantial scale.

Mr. Page

Having regard to the very effective lighting which can now be installed—effective from the point of view of making the roads safe—will my right hon. Friend consider consulting the Chancellor of the Exchequer to see whether further assistance cannot be given to local authorities in installing this very effective lighting?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Great help can be given to local authorities in connection with the research into standards and methods of lighting which has been undertaken in recent years. Of course, suggestions for altering the present financial basis raise very wide and different questions.

Mr. Woodburn

Would the Minister consider giving some preference to parts of the roads which are especially dangerous in fog, bearing in mind that if those parts of the road were illuminated it might save a great many accidents during fog?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am quite certain that local lighting authorities give a good deal of help in such cases.

Mr. H. Morrison

While noting that the Minister is encouraging the use of the research establishment, with which I am familiar and which does good work, may I ask him whether he has considered prescribing standards and methods of lighting as a condition of grant in order that there can be a high standard and some degree of uniformity? The differences in systems of street lighting and the sharp movement from one to another are liable to be dangerous for driving.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I take the right hon. Gentleman's point. I do not think we have yet reached sufficient agreement as to the best methods of lighting for such a general laying-down of standards to be sensible, but I think it is a matter which we may have to consider before very long.

Miss Ward

Am I right in assuming that, where trunk roads are not properly lit, the Minister intends to do something about it? Would he like to come up to the North of England, when I will take him for a drive on a trunk road?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I shall always be happy to be taken for a ride by my hon. Friend.