HC Deb 04 November 1959 vol 612 cc1005-6
3. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a statement on the present position in relation to the Leicestershire portion of the London-Yorkshire motorway.

35. Mr. Wade

asked the Minister of Transport what progress he has to report on the construction of the London to Yorkshire motorway and the provision of a new highway from Leeds to Sheffield through the West Riding of Yorkshire to be linked with the proposed London to Yorkshire motorway.

36. Dr. Broughton

asked the Minister of Transport what progress he has to report towards the construction of the Yorkshire-London motorway.

Mr. Marples

Consulting engineers are preparing plans for the northern section of the London-Yorkshire motorway. The line through Leicestershire is substantially the one which the county council recommends. These plans should be received at the end of this month. A draft scheme showing the proposed line should be published about a month later.

West Riding County Council, as my agent, is surveying a route for the Sheffield-Leeds extension and I expect to be able to publish a draft scheme for this section early next year.

Mr. Janner

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for the reply he has given, which shows that at long last we are now getting somewhere near to a settlement of this matter, may I ask him to make clear that the delay has in no way been due to anything on the part of Leicestershire County Council or of Leicester, and that as far back as October last year the county council had already put forward this scheme? Will he ensure that it is put into effect as soon as possible, as there has been enough dilly-dally on the motorway to satisfy even the Government Departments tackling the job?

Mr. Marples

This House has approved statutory procedure which has an eye on the protection of the rights of individuals, and that necessarily involves delay. It would be quite easy for a dictator in another country to put a motorway anywhere he liked, but in this country one has to respect the rights of individuals.

Mr. Wade

While asking the right hon. Gentleman to press on with the extension to Yorkshire, may I ask if he agrees that these new motorways will not help very much in the traffic problem if they merely enable a motorist to get quickly from one area of traffic congestion to another? What happens at the end of the motorway is important. Can he give an assurance that there will be no undue delay in completing the extensions through the West Riding from Sheffield to Leeds?

Mr. Marples

I cannot answer without notice, but I agree that motorways enable motorists to get from point A to point B quickly. There is no reason why they should not enable them to do so even if it is difficult when they reach the urban area, but that problem must be tackled.

Dr. Broughton

Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that this motorway is urgent for the vital industrial areas of Yorkshire and that delays have been infuriating? Will he press on with this project as rapidly as possible?

Mr. Marples

Certainly I will, but I can press on only as rapidly as statutory procedures allow me. If it is necessary to proceed more rapidly, I hope hon. Members will support me if I have to come forward with new statutory proposals.

Mr. Hirst

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that he has inherited from his predecessor a ghastly muddle in this matter? Does he also appreciate that Leicestershire County Council two years ago gave the go-ahead to the original line which the Ministry of Transport wanted, and that it is not sufficient for this House or the nation to be fobbed off with statutory difficulties? He must overcome them.

Mr. Marples

I say to my hon. Friend that I hope that if I bring forward proposals he will support me.

Mr. Hirst


Mr. Marples

I shall do my best, and beyond that I cannot go.

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