HC Deb 15 November 1967 vol 754 cc435-6
38. Mr. Marten

asked the Minister of Transport whether she will make a statement on Government policy towards the abolition of ancient toll bridges.

75. Mr. Neave

asked the Minister of Transport whether she has any new proposals for the abolition of ancient toll bridges.

Mr. Carmichael

There are no proposals for changing the present situation in which highway authorities may, if they wish, acquire ancient toll rights under Section 233 of the Highways Act, 1959.

Mr. Marten

Presumably that must mean that there is no change in Government policy and that they have no proposals to alter the law about toll bridges. Could they not consider seriously fixing a term of, say, 15 years, after which all toll bridge rights should be abolished without compensation?

Mr. Carmichael

Confiscation, even after a term of 15 years, would involve very controversial legislation. The feeling is that any such legislation would be of insufficient national importance to give Parliamentary time for it.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Does my hon. Friend recognise that, though it may be of insufficient national importance, it is a problem which is of crucial local importance in areas like Selby, and that it would be desirable if modern road communications were not impeded by these ancient toll bridges? Would he perhaps look at the way in which Jersey dealt with the problem of seigniorial dues, which were also a feudal relic and which they abolished after 25 years of gradual progression?

Mr. Carmichael

In the case of the bridge referred to by my hon. Friend, there is to be a by-pass which will eliminate the necessity for main traffic to use the bridge. On the other matter he raises in connection with Jersey, I will make a point of examining it.