HC Deb 10 February 1959 vol 599 cc972-3
1. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consideration is being given to achieving uniformity of texture on road surfaces in Scotland.

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

The standard specification for road works provides for several types of surfaces, all of which are skid resisting. Provided that surfaces satisfy these requirements, my right hon. Friend does not think that uniformity of texture is in itself desirable or practicable.

Mr. Rankin

Does the Minister realise that most drivers do not believe that part of his Answer which says that these roads are anti..skid? Does he realise that in the course of a day's journey the long-distance driver may travel over thirty different types of surface and that this has an upsetting effect on the driver, particularly after rain, when the surfaces become slippery? This is one of the chief causes of accidents on the roads.

Mr. Macpherson

I agree that frequent changes in surface are not desirable, but they do not necessarily mean a change in the running characteristics of the road.

13. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in order to improve road services, he will arrange for adequate distribution bins or other accumulations of anti-skid material to be placed on roadways for which he is responsible at equal divides so that on the initial coverage manpower would be conveyed quickly to the accumulations and spreading would proceed right away, when the need arose.

Mr. N. Macpherson

The highway authorities who act as trunk road agents for my right hon. Friend maintain dumps of gritting material at strategic points and, in general, gritting is carried out from vehicles which are loaded mechanically from the most convenient dump. I doubt whether it would be an improvement to base the gritting arrangements on smaller dumps of material from which the grit would be spread manually.

Mr. Rankin

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the strategic points are very few indeed, and that during the recent frost epidemic I saw many roads where there was no grit available to be spread on surfaces that were obviously slippery? Will he draw the attention of his agents to that fact and ensure that they act a little more speedily than they have been doing?

Mr. Macpherson

I think the hon. Gentleman will realise that if it was a question of small dumps, men would have to get to those dumps either on foot or by being conveyed. As it is, the grit is conveyed in lorries and is spread from them.

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