§ 55. Sir B. Janner
asked the Minister of Transport whether she is aware of the considerable delay in approval being granted for all types of pedestrian crossings and "Stop" signs to be erected; and if she will devolve upon local authorities decisions on these local matters.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. John Morris)
Applications for pedestrian crossings and "Stop" signs are dealt with as quickly as possible, but delay sometimes arises because of the need to obtain a good deal of detailed site information.
Control over these measures was withdrawn from local authorities some years ago because zebra crossings and "Stop" signs had proliferated to a degree where their value was impaired. But we are watching the situation carefully and will consider whether the time is yet ripe for a change.
§ Sir B. Janner
Will my hon. Friend realise that it is extremely important that this matter should be dealt with expeditiously? As the local authorities are in 49 a position to deal with other matters, why not this?
§ Mr. Morris
I can give my hon. Friend the assurance that these matters are dealt with as expeditiously as possible, but it is also important to decide on a national standard for the establishment of these sites. For that reason the procedures are dealt with as they are now.
§ Mr. Morris
What is a reasonable time would vary according to the number of inquiries which have to be made. The police have to be consulted; the local authorities have to be consulted; statistics of traffic have to be obtained. In order to come to a right judgment all these matters have to be taken into account.
§ Mr. Molloy
But this is the very point. As my hon. Friend said, the police have to be consulted. The local authorities do not consult themselves: the borough engineer does it as to 90 per cent, of what is done by the local authorities. Surely, in the interests of efficiency and reasonable speed not only in getting these matters put on the local statute book but introduced in practice, this responsibility should be given to the local authorities?
§ Mr. Morris
I think that if my hon. Friend was listening to the Answer which I gave he must have heard me say that we were watching the situation carefully, and whether the time is right for a change, and also canvassing some of the problems my hon. Friend has mentioned. We want a speedy decision, but at the same time we want to avoid undue proliferation, which occurred some years ago.