HC Deb 04 May 1966 vol 727 cc1607-8
19. Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Minister of Transport what estimates she has made of the increase in traffic between the East and West Midlands and the East Anglian ports of Ipswich and Felixstowe over the next five, 10, and 20 years, respectively; and what plans she has for improving the A45 to cope with this additional traffic over the same approximate periods.

Mr. Swingler

Traffic will increase by about 30 per cent., 75 per cent. and 175 per cent. respectively. The current roads programme includes a number of improvement schemes on the A45 appropriate to the expected volume of traffic. Further improvements required in the 'seventies are being studied.

Mr. Griffiths

Do not those figures demonstrate that this is one of the key arteries of our future export trade? Will not the hon. Gentleman consider that what is needed is not tinkering about with particular projects, but an East Anglian east-west highway which will do the job properly?

Mr. Swingler

No, Sir. We have to compare this build-up of traffic and traffic flow with the state of affairs in other roads in other parts of the country in deciding on our priorities and schemes, which the hon. Gentleman has described as tinkering, but which are quite expensive and which will make improvements to enable traffic to flow. However, we are now studying the needs of the 1970s which may provide for much more important developments.

Sir H. Harrison

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that where it joins my constituency at Stowmarket and Needham Market the A45 is not adequate for present traffic? I support what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Swingler

I realise that it is not adequate and that is why improvements will certainly be made.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

What plans are being made for developing rail transport for this traffic.

Mr. Swingler

We want to develop rail transport to the East Anglian ports and that is why my right hon. Friend is engaged on schemes designed to attract more traffic to the railways.