HC Deb 25 January 1956 vol 548 cc198-9
41. Mr. P. Williams

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will now take steps to encourage all local authorities to provide adequate street lighting in the region of pedestrian crossings.

Mr. Molson

Good street lighting in the vicinity of pedestrian crossings undoubtedly increases their safety value at night and we will certainly do what we can to encourage local authorities to provide it. But, except on trunk roads where my right hon. Friend has power to make grants, we have no responsibility in this matter.

Mr. Williams

Although the Minister may not regard himself as having final responsibility in the matter, would he not agree that there are many parts of the country where pedestrian crossings are quite inadequately lit? In the interests of road safety, would he not bring to the attention of local authorities the importance of having pedestrians fully lit up at night?

Mr. Molson

I should hesitate to ask my right hon. Friend to issue a circular to local authorities in exactly those terms. At the same time, it is difficult for my right hon. Friend to urge local authorities to incur expenditure upon lighting if he is not paying for that lighting himself. From the point of view of safety, it is undesirable to have the lighting in the vicinity of pedestrian crossings very much brighter than it is in other parts of the same highway.

Mr. Wade

Will the Minister give this matter his urgent attention? Even in daylight it is often difficult for a driver to see whether a pedestrian is about to cross the road. In bad light it is particularly difficult to see whether a pedestrian is crossing or about to cross at a pedestrian crossing.

Mr. Molson

As to whether we will give this matter our urgent consideration, I am afraid the answer must be that we do not at present intend to increase the responsibility of the central Government for the provision of lighting on highways.

Mr. Page

Will my hon. Friend recommend to his right hon. Friend that the time has now come to reconsider the flashing beacons and all the lighting on pedestrian crossings? Have they not been in operation long enough for us to see whether that type of lighting is sufficient, and whether one might not go back to some of the floodlighting methods with which experiments were made before the beacons were installed?

Mr. Molson

There is a certain confusion of thought there. The purpose of the flashing beacons is to indicate to motorists the existence of a pedestrian crossing. It is not the purpose of the beacons to show up pedestrians who may be standing there. The effect of having very bright lights at a pedestrian crossing would be to throw a shadow in the wrong direction, and we do not think that it would add to road safety.

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