HC Deb 04 December 1963 vol 685 cc1121-3
16. Sir L. Ropner

asked the Minister of Transport whether the plans for road improvement for the period ending 1967–68 include a scheme for the provision of a toll-free bridge at Selby.

43. Mr. Jeger

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware of the obstruction to road and river traffic caused by the recent collision at Selby toll bridge; and what proposals he has for improving the traffic problem at this bridge.

Mr. Marples

I am aware of the recent accident which held up traffic for a little over two hours. In November last year I appointed consulting engineers to investigate present and future trunk road requirements between the Great North Road and the port of Hull. This investigation includes the need for and siting of a new bridge over the River Ouse to relieve the bottlenecks at Selby and Boothferry bridges. I hope to have the consulting engineers' recommendations, in the spring of next year.

In the meantime, I have left room in the trunk road programme for the period ending 1967–68 for improvement schemes which will be designed in the light of the consulting engineers' report..

Sir L. Ropner

But cannot my right hon. Friend give an assurance that, after a period of about sixty years, the Department over which he presides has just about got to the end of inventing plausible but ill-founded excuses for not ridding Selby of the curse of this toll bridge which causes such inconvenience and loss of trade to Selby and the surrounding district?

Mr. Marples

I am always grateful to my hon. and gallant Friend for the way in which he understates his case. There was no Ministry of Transport sixty years ago and traffic congestion then with horse-drawn vehicles was worse than it is now. We now have consulting engineers making a technical assessment of the job. I promise my hon. and gallant Friend a firm place on the programme and I am sure he will rejoice.

Mr. Jeger

Is the Minister drawing up plans for the provision of a toll-free bridge to replace the toll bridge?

Mr. Marples

We had better see what happens when the consultant engineers report.

Miss Bacon

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this bridge has been a disgrace for many years? It is not only the constituents of the hon. and gallant Member for Barkston Ash (Sir L. Ropner) and the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) who suffer but also people who live in Leeds and the other cities of the West Riding? If we could have a new bridge at Selby the problem at Malton would be greatly relieved.

Mr. Marples

I am quite aware of that, but one of the difficulties with some of these very old toll bridges is that their owners have the revenue tax-free.