§ 5. Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
asked the Minister of Transport what is his present policy with regard to replacing level crossings by road bridges; what arrangements he makes for initiating such replacements; and by whom the cost is borne.
§ Mr. Marples
The elimination of level crossings, where they cause serious delay to traffic, is an important factor in the selection of schemes for road improvement and as the road programme develops they will be progressively replaced. The initiation of schemes rests with the highway authority concerned, who also bear the cost, apart from any contribution made by the British Transport Commission in respect of the relief from their obligation to maintain and operate the crossing. The Government meet the whole of the highway authority's liability on trunk roads and make grants towards it for approved schemes on classified roads.
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
Whilst thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, would he not consider a more ambitious programme, with a view to trying to eliminate these level crossings in the next three or four years? If necessary, would he introduce legislation to ensure that this can be borne as a road improvement? Would he not agree that this is perhaps one of the few ways in which we can help both the road users and the railways at about the same time?
§ Mr. Marples
I agree that it is desirable to eliminate as many level crossings as we can, but some are more important than others. Abolition is desirable on three grounds: it eliminates delays in road traffic, it saves money for the railways, and it reduces accidents.