HC Deb 23 March 1960 vol 620 cc483-4
11. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Transport what further meetings have been held since the first meeting of 17th January, 1960, of Che various organisations concerned to discuss the traffic jams caused by the raising of the Tower Bridge for shipping; and what further progress has been made in dealing with the situation.

Mr. Marples

Circumstances have not warranted any further general conference since 19th January. I am pur- suing certain points which were raised at that meeting and those about which the hon. Member wrote to me recently.

Mr. Dodds

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the fantastic state of affairs whereby any small ship, by flying a signal, can have the bridge opened? Is he further aware that even tiny tugs going into the Pool do this, and that the old-fashioned custom is even abused by small ships that are known to have requested the bridge to be opened, and have then waited in the Pool of London until the level of the water lowered, and then proceeded under other bridges by pulling down masts and funnels which they did not pull down for Tower Bridge? Is he also aware that some of these hold-ups extend from the Elephant and Castle in the south to Bishopsgate in the north, and is it not about time that something was done?

Mr. Marples

The hon. Gentleman has been most helpful, and, on the understanding that it does not harm him politically in any way, I should like to express my admiration for the thorough way in which he has looked at this problem. I wrote to him today. I have got his letter and all the details, and I can assure him that I will go into them all. I may add that the Port of London Authority has fitted its own yacht with a telescopic mast, and it will be operating this year, and will reduce the number of openings of the bridge which that yacht will require by about two-thirds. I assure the hon. Gentleman that the points he raised ought to be gone into, and that they will be gone into.

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