HC Deb 20 July 1960 vol 627 cc491-3
41. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Transport what was the reason for his decision to set up a study group of scientists to prepare a survey of the pattern of traffic in and out of London, in view of all the evidence now available; and how long he anticipates it will be before the scientists report.

Mr. Marples

I fear the hon. Gentleman is mistaken. I have in mind an overall origin and destination survey of London traffic which is usually carried out by traffic engineers. The matter is now under discussion between my Department and the London County Council and I hope that its results might be available in about 18 months' time.

Mr. Dodds

How does the right hon. Gentleman justify the setting up of another committee when his predecessor, the present Minister of Defence, in appointing the London Traffic Committee in 1958, said the same thing, almost word for word, as what he said in opening the second tube for the Blackwall Tunnel recently? Before then there was set up the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee. Is it not a fact that the same sort of words were used before? Is not this an indictment of the two Committees which have been set up for a similar purpose and of the Ministry which should have the information, or is this the usual device of a Minister to set up a committee to buy time until he is transferred to another Department?

Mr. Marples

The whole of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is based on a false assumption. I am not setting up a committee. All that I am setting up—[Laughter.] The committee which considered London's roads recommended this.

Mr. Manuel

Is not that a committee?

Mr. Marples

For the benefit of hon. Members who are rather agreeably laughing, may I say that that was set up many years ago and has completed its report. It stated: Consideration should be given to the means and methods for carrying out comprehensive and continuing traffic engineering studies for London roads which might well have an influence on the programmes in their later stages. Origin and destination surveys provide the material which will give us the information so that we can put the roads in the right places.