HC Deb 25 July 1956 vol 557 cc396-7
17. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what steps he is taking to obtain uniform lighting on main roads.

Mr. Molson

On trunk roads, where we are able to contribute to the expenditure incurred by local authorities on new or improved lighting, conformity with the standards recommended by the Departmental Committee on Street Lighting is a condition of the contribution. On other roads the local authorities are solely responsible for lighting. They are aware of the recommended standards which my Department's technical advice, which is always available, aims at having adopted everywhere.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Are there not still far too many variations in lighting on main roads, other than the trunk roads for which the Ministry is responsible? Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that a Government Committee sat on this matter twenty-one years ago? Is it not time the Ministry exercised some influence on local authorities to try to get them to deal with this variation in lighting, which does not help to reduce road accidents at night?

Mr. Molson

I think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman is aware that it is only in respect of trunk roads that we are empowered to make any grants, and it is therefore only over them that we can exercise any control. The other roads are left to local authorities, and I regret that they are not in all cases introducing lighting which is uniform.

Mr. Page

Will not my right hon. Friend consult his right hon. Friend the Minister to see whether they could initiate legislation on this subject? The lack of uniformity in lighting is a most serious subject. As he knows, lack of legislation prevents him from doing anything about it. Cannot he initiate some legislation in that respect?

Mr. Molson

At the present time we do not propose to initiate any legislation on this subject. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Such money as is available for work upon the roads will be spent upon road building, which is useful by day and by night. At present we are not disposed to spend on lighting more of any money which is available.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the right hon. Gentleman serious when he says that this involves expenditure of money by the Government? Is it not a question of using influence with the local authorities in order to secure some uniformity? Why has he raised the question of finance?

Mr. Molson

If the right hon. Gentleman had listened to my original Answer he would have heard me say that we use such influence as we are able to use, but experience may have taught him that where one is not able to make any financial contribution one's advice does not gain very much attention.

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