HC Deb 20 February 1957 vol 565 cc403-4
5. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what is the present staff of the special planning section of his Department which is reviewing the future road requirements of this country for the next two decades; what are their qualifications; how far this section will be reviewing the need for urban motorways as well as other motorways; and how far it is proposed to increase the size of the staff and the scope of their work at an early date.

The Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. Harold Watkinson)

At headquarters, a staff of eleven engineers and draughtsmen are engaged on the review of future road requirements. In the regions additional work is being done by the divisional road engineers' staffs. At present work is being concentrated on the trunk road requirements, but urban problems, including urban motorways, are also being reviewed.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

As freedom of traffic resulting from petrol rationing on urban roads at the present time would give this special planning section some evidence by which it can judge economies of fuel and time in urban districts, would my right hon. Friend ask the section to give special attention to urban motorways and the evidence relating to the freedom of traffic at the present time?

Mr. Watkinson

Yes, Sir. I think I ought to explain that the job of this section is to prepare a long-term plan for the roads of this country. It is not dealing with the short-term position arising from petrol rationing.

Mr. Ernest Davies

As this is the first that we have heard of this new long-term plan, will the Minister inform the House whether it is intended to publish it, and if so when, and also whether the money is going to be available from the Treasury to carry it out?

Mr. Watkinson

I said before, but perhaps the hon. Gentleman missed it, that we are, of course, carrying out a long-term investigation into the roads of this country. That is a quite proper part of the work of my Ministry and, when they are ready, the results of the investigation will be published.

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