HC Deb 23 July 1957 vol 574 cc197-8
14. Sir D. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the Helmsdale-Melvich road has been closed by the Sutherland County Council following damage and in some parts destruction by excessive weights carried by the main contractors' lorries and others employed by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and the British Transport Commission; and what action he intends taking to repair and reopen this Class I road.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Niall Macpherson)

My right hon. Friend understands that Sutherland County Council, as the responsible highway authority, has decided to carry out repairs which will enable this road to be reopened to vehicles of up to 8 tons weight.

Sir D. Robertson

Is it not the case that the county council is to spend about £500 on filling in craters? As this is only a patching operation, will my hon. Friend ask his right hon. Friend to consider whether the Government should reconstruct the road immediately, calling upon the nationalised bodies to pay their share in due course?

Mr. Macpherson

This is a Class 1 road and, therefore, the responsibility of the local authority. My right hon. Friend will do his best to assist in arranging for any assistance to be given by the British Transport Commission and the Atomic Energy Authority for the reconstruction of the road.

Sir D. Robertson

is it not the case that 1d. rate in the County of Sutherland will produce only £200? Is it not useless to expect a county so impoverished to bear the cost of this road?

Mr. John MacLeod

Is the Minister not aware that the whole road system connecting Dounreay with the South is breaking down? Ought not these things to be examined at a very high level, because complete reconstruction is needed?

Mr. Macpherson

The A.9 main trunk road is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend, and any question of dealing with that would be a matter for him.

Mr. T. Fraser

Does not the hon. Gentleman appreciate that these roads are being very badly damaged by the vehicular traffic occasioned by this project in the far North which has been put there by Her Majesty's Government? Her Majesty's Government must be concerned to maintain the state of the highways and cannot merely pass the buck to the local authorities.

Mr. Macpherson

My right hon. Friend and the local authorities concerned have done everything possible to ensure that the heavy vehicles running up to Dounreay use the A.9 road, and the A.9 road is being made fit for that purpose.

Back to