HC Deb 28 July 1965 vol 717 cc461-3
28 and 29. Mr. Hamling

asked the Minister of Transport (1) if he will take steps generally to restrict the hours during which road goods vehicles shall be allowed within an eight mile radius of Charing Cross;

(2) if he will introduce legislation generally to prohibit the loading and unloading of goods vehicles in the streets of London during the daytime.

99. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Transport what restrictions he has decided to impose on the entry of goods vehicles and private cars into Central London.

Mr. Tom Fraser

I think that any such far-reaching measures can be considered only in the light of the study of restraint of traffic generally which I announced on 14th April.

Mr. Hamling

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the inner part of south-east London traffic congestion caused by the presence of heavy goods vehicles is notoriously bad and that some streets are almost completely congested by parked heavy lorries, especially during rush hours, when the unloading of heavy goody vehicles is a notorious practice?

Mr. Fraser

Yes, Sir, but I think my hon. Friend will appreciate that he is raising a matter with me which is the responsibility of the Greater London Council. I think he knows that there are at present many schemes which restrict the use of roads by commercial vehicles during certain hours and restrict stopping for loading and unloading in many other streets during given hours. The speech I made on 14th April, to which I have referred, mentioned a further study which we are making of possibilities for further restraint of traffic in cities. I am in the closest consultation with the Greater London Council. I am hoping very much to be able to say something positive on this matter before the end of the year.

Mr. Lipton

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the day has already come when we must decide that certain categories of road traffic have got to be kept out of central London altogether, at least during certain hours of the day? This is an inevitable decision which we must come to, particularly in regard to the use of private cars coming into central London, which must be severely restricted.

Mr. Fraser

It is because I believe that restriction will be needed that I have been making speeches in recent months and that the study I have mentioned is under way.

Mr. Dance

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the very great burden we put on people receiving goods in this way if they have to do so out of ordinary hours? Is he aware that it will make a great increase in the cost of running these businesses?

Mr. Fraser

What I do know is that if one looks round many streets in London at present one finds pubs at nearly every street corner and at 9 o'clock in the morning lorries are unloading at those pubs, hindering the traffic not only of private cars, but of public service vehicles.

Mr. Powell

Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise the great complexity of the purposes, economic and other, which vehicles of different kinds are serving and therefore the necessity for a most careful study before any restrictions of the kind implied by these questions are imposed?

Mr. Fraser

What I recognise is that we have to make better use of the road space in the centres of cities than we are doing at present. I believe that we shall do that only by working out carefully—I did not say that I would be doing it without care—the restraints that will have to be put upon certain traffic using those roads. I honestly believe that we shall get proper use of these busy streets, particularly in city centres, only by curtailing the use that can be made of them by commercial vehicles, I should have thought that not only commercial vehicles but private cars would have to suffer some restraint on the use they make of city streets—[An HON. MEMBER: "Too long."]—This is what I think and this is the object of the study I am having made at present.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

On a point of order. You did refer to the slow progress with Questions today, Mr. Speaker. Is it not almost entirely due to the waffly answers we are getting from the Government Front Bench?

Mr. Speaker

I do not think that the epithet "waffly" has any part in a point of order.