HC Deb 28 July 1961 vol 645 cc865-7

Lords Amendment: In page 26, line 7 at end insert new Clause B: (1) Premises shall be disqualified for receiving a justices' licence if they are situated on land acquired or appropriated by a special road authority, and for the time being used, for the provision of facilities to be used in connection with the use of a special road provided for the use of traffic of class I (with or without other classes). (2) For the purposes of this section—

  1. (a) "special road" and "special road authority" have the same meanings as in the Highways Act, 1959, except that "special road" includes a trunk road to which by virtue of section nineteen of that Act the provisions of the Act apply as if the road were a special road; and
  2. (b) "class I" means class I in the Fourth Schedule to that Act, as varied from time to time by any order under section twelve of the Act, but if that Schedule is amended by such an Order so as to add to it a further class of traffic, the order may adapt the reference in this section to traffic of class I so as to take account of the additional class.

Mr. Vosper

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

This Amendment gives effect to the desire expressed on Report that licensed premises should be prohibited on motorways. It may appear a little strange to hon. Members that in certain places there is a reference to trunk roads, but that is because the definition of a motorway is governed by various Statutes administered by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport, and to make certain that the whole of the motorway is excluded from the possibility of licensed premises being set up on them, a definition in these terms is necessary. It in no way extends to ordinary trunk roads which are not motorways. I mention that because a first reading of the new Clause might lead to some misunderstanding.

I should make it clear that this will prevent any licensed premises from being established on motorways. The law at the moment gives a discretion to licensing justices to allow the grant of a table licence, but under this new Clause that will not be possible. Therefore, in no form will it be possible for any licensed premises to be established on an existing motorway, or one which will be built in the future.

That was the desire expressed by the House on an Amendment moved on Report by my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr). In another place approval was given to this, and I think that the House will wish to give it approval today.

Mr. E. Johnson

I have never liked this proposal. It seems senseless that we should refuse to give a licence to premises on motorways. Our motorways are undoubtedly the safest roads in the world, yet when one gets off the motorways on to a narrower and more dangerous road with many corners and bends, and with traffic coming towards one as well as following one, it is possible to stop and get a drink.

Human nature being what it is, the effect of the Amendment will be that people who intend to go on a long journey on a motorway will take a bottle of liquor with them in the car. That used to happen in parts of Western Canada where people had to travel long distances and there were no opportunities for calling in anywhere for refreshment.

I do not wish to suggest that people ought to drink when they are driving, but it seems stupid to make a law that one can drink all one wants until one gets on to a motorway, and then one cannot drink again until one gets off it. I do not suppose it is any use my suggesting that we should reject the Lords Amendment. The feeling of the House is probably against me, but I wanted to express that point of view.

Mr. Fletcher

I am sure that the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) has expressed a minority view. I do not think that it is at all representative of public opinion. I congratulate the Government on having carried out the promises they made at an earlier stage. I think that they have been wise in accepting the view put forward from both sides of the House and widely supported in the country. It would be a great mistake to permit any kind of licensed premises on the motorways.

Motorways are essentially long-distance roads. We should all rejoice that the Government have been strong-minded about this and are determined to remove the temptation to motorists on the motorways to stop and get a drink.

Question put and agreed to.