HC Deb 21 May 1957 vol 570 cc1014-6
19. Mr. John MacLeod

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware of the increase in traffic, both in numbers and weight on Highland roads; and what action he intends to take.

Mr. Maclay

I am aware that traffic is increasing in the Highlands as elsewhere. Last year my Department spent over £1,300,000 on the maintenance and improvement of trunk and classified roads in the Highlands, and authorised further major improvements involving Government expenditure of over £1,200,000. I hope that all these schemes will be started before the end of this year.

Mr. MacLeod

Now that my right hon. Friend has been responsible for our road system in Scotland for the past year, I hope that he will take a more realistic view and survey the whole region once more, because we have a great deal of leeway to make up. For example, is it not quite wrong to spend in Easter Ross, in my constituency, a large sum on a bypass trunk road while people on the West Coast who have no road are denied any grant at all?

Mr. Maclay

I myself, of course, have not been responsible for the whole of the last twelve months, but I am aware of some of the points which my hon. Friend has in mind. I do not know the details contained in his last question. If he cares to send them to me, I will, of course, examine them. I assure him that my Department is fully alive to the necessity of turning the maximum number of stones in this very interesting area.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the Secretary of State aware that there were questions of the entire collapse of the road to Dounreay because of the extra heavy traffic? If that area is to be developed, will it not be necessary to have a good major road right up to the North of Scotland, in addition to those which are very necessary in Ross-shire and the Western Highlands?

Mr. Maclay

I think that the right hon. Gentleman would agree that an answer to that question would require due consideration. Sir D. McCallum: Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is not much sign that local authorities are getting on with the roads for which more than £ 1 million was allocated last year?

Mr. Maclay

As I said in my reply, I have every hope that these schemes will be started before the end of the year.