HC Deb 14 November 1956 vol 560 cc934-5
24. Mr. C. Howell

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what joint consultations he has initiated between private road haulage contractors and the British Transport Commission with a view to diverting traffic from the roads to the railways during the present oil shortage; and what was the result.

Mr. Watkinson

The reply which I gave on Monday to a Question by the hon. Member about traffic to and from the nationalised industries applies equally to all traffic.

Mr. Howell

As the Minister has had two or three days in which to confer since the last occasion on which he answered a Question on the matter in the House, may I ask him with what speed he is initiating the getting of something done? Or are we still to rely on the good will of other people?

Mr. Watkinson

I do not think that the hon. Member can have heard the answer which I have just given to the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss), in which I said that since he asked his Question the other day, I have had replies from all the interests concerned saying that they would implement the request made to them.

Mr. Ernest Davies

As it is the intention to divert traffic as far as possible from the roads to the railways, will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the railways will not have their oil supplies cut, for if they do their services will necessarily deteriorate, particularly those of the diesel shunting engines, so that the railways will be prevented from doing the extra work?

Mr. Watkinson

That is a very good point. I have it in mind, and I am taking it up with the Minister of Fuel and Power.

Mrs. Braddock

Has the right hon. Gentleman had any word about the position in Liverpool? Will he look at the position there again with reference to the Liverpool Overhead Railway, which is closing down at the end of December. In those circumstances many more buses will have to be put on the road and will therefore be using more oil and petrol when it is necessary to save.

Mr. Watkinson

I will certainly look at that point.