HC Deb 14 February 1961 vol 634 cc1216-8
8. Mr. Stodart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will impose a speed limit of 50 miles-per-hour on vehicles using the A.8 road, from Edinburgh to Glasgow, for an experimental period.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. R. Brooman-White)

On existing evidence my right hon. Friend does not think it practicable to impose a 50 miles-per-hour speed limit on the whole road, but he is considering the possibility of imposing a 40 miles-per-hour speed limit on certain specific lengths.

Mr. Stodart

Can my hon. Friend say what is the total length of the road on which it is proposed to impose a 40 m.p.h. limit? Is he aware of the great success which attended the introduction of the 50 m.p.h. limit on long stretches of road in England and Wales last Whitsun? Will he explain why he is not willing to try this as an experiment for a short period only on a road which is famed for accidents?

Mr. Brooman-White

I would rather not go into details about the specific lengths of road where there will be a 40 m.p.h. limit until my right hon Friend's officers have had an opportunity to discuss the matter with the local authorities concerned. Regarding the more general question, it is felt that drivers would not think a 50 m.p.h. limit on considerable stretches of this road was reasonable, and consequently it would be extremely difficult to enforce

Mr. T. Fraser

Is the Minister aware that some of us who use this road regularly think that it would be very reasonable to have a 50 m.p.h. limit on the whole of it? Is he aware that there is no part of this road where it is safe to drive at more than 50 m.p.h.? Is he also aware that if there is a restriction on speed for only short stretches the tendency will be for motorists to make the best speed they can? Is he aware that on this road, which is a three-lane highway, accidents are. unfortunately, frequently fatal, and will he have another look at this matter?

Mr. Brooman-White

We are constantly considering the whole question of this road. It must be remembered that the accident rate on this road is not significantly greater than that on comparable stretches of other trunk roads in Scotland which bear a similar volume of traffic.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the Minister aware that the number of accidents recently has alarmed the public? As he has repeatedly said that the accidents are not due to speed but to the junctions in the roads, is he proposing to do anything to deal with those junctions, or is he going to wait until a proper analysis is made of the causes of accidents, if they are not due to speed?

Mr. Brooman-White

We are doing a considerable amount of work on the junctions, as the right hon. Gentleman knows.

15. Mr. Stodart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many lay-bys there will be on the A.8 road from Edinburgh to Glasgow when the four under construction are completed; and when he expects to be in a position to assess the effect of these on reducing accidents.

Mr. Brooman-White

Thirty-six, to which a further nine will be added in the course of the major reconstruction at Bathgate and between Newhouse and Baillieston. These extra lay-bys should have an immediate effect in reducing the number of accidents, and my right hon. Friend will call for reports in about three months.

Mr. Stodart

Is my hon. Friend aware that, while all motorists will welcome the provision of these lay-bys, they will not by themselves allay the very genuine anxiety felt by experienced motorists who use this road and find it a dangerous road? Is he aware that, despite the provision of lay-bys, people will continue to park by the roadside until they are forbidden to do so? As this road has all the characteristics of a motorway will he not forbid parking altogether?

Mr. Brooman-White

The number of lay-bys now being constructed will represent about one per mile. They will be clearly signposted. I think we should see the effect of that before we take further decisions.