§ Mr. Astor
Would the Joint Parliamentary Secretary agree that these figures indicate that this stretch of road is exceptionally dangerous, and do they not emphasise the urgency of completing the M.4? If he does agree that this is so, will he persuade his right hon. Friend to expedite his decision on this road rather than delay it, as it has been reported he is proposing to do in the local Press?
§ Mr. Swingler
I wish in a way that I could say that these figures indicate 192 that this road is exceptionally dangerous. In fact, for this type of road the accident figures are rather below the national average. As the hon. Gentleman may know, schemes for improving the road, costing £389,000, are already in hand or are to be put in hand in the near future. My right hon. Friend has today referred to the M.4 and we will be getting on with this as soon as possible. We hope to make an announcement in a month or so.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
While being appreciative of the improvements to which the hon. Gentleman referred, many of which I know at first hand, is it, nevertheless, not clear that this is a very dangerous stretch of a very much over-burdened road, and does this not add weight to the representations made to him that there should be an urgent decision about the M.4?
§ Mr. Swingler
I agree that there have been serious black spots on this road. We have been trying to deal with them. We are not pretending that the situation is satisfactory and, of course, the long-term solution will be the construction of the M.4. As I said, we will be making an announcement about that very soon.