§ 34. Mr. Fernyhough
asked the Minister of Transport how many applications by local authorities for permission to install pedestrian crossings have been turned down by his Department over the last five years.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friend took part in a broadcast on 30th April and said:It is no good writing to me about parking problems and pedestrian crossings. Why should I think that I could control all these things 1265 from the centre? It is absolute nonsense to think Whitehall can control matters needing detailed local knowledge. That is the job of the town hall."?Did the right hon. Gentleman mislead the public of this country when he said that? Is it not true that he turned down hundreds of local authority applications for the constructing of pedestrian crossings? Will the Minister be a little more careful, when next he takes part in a broadcast, not to use such misleading language?
§ Mr. Fernyhough
Can the hon. Gentleman explain why his right hon. Friend said that it was no use writing to him about the lack of pedestrian crossings when it is the right hon. Gentleman who has the power to say yes or no?
§ Mr. Benn
Is it not clear from the figures given that the Ministry of Transport turned down only slightly fewer than the number it approved? Would it not be very wrong for the Minister of Transport to lay the blame on local authorities for failure in their share of the responsibility for road safety as was implied in the Minister's broadcast?
§ Mr. Hay
I do not accept that what my right hon. Friend said bore that implication at all. We have just over 14,365 pedestrian crossings and we have reduced the number to this figure since 1950 when it was 32,684. The whole problem in the past has been that if we have too many crossings they are not observed by motorists and do not provide adequate safety measures.