HC Deb 27 March 1968 vol 761 cc1507-8
1. Mr. Derek Page

asked the Minister of Transport what steps she is taking to prevent possible dislocation of industrial development in expanding towns, due to the effect of the 100-mile limit proposed for quantity licensing of heavy goods vehicles.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. John Morris)

There is no ban on heavy lorries going over 100 miles. Unless rail is at least as cheap, speedy and reliable as road, quantity licences will be granted. The system will thus ensure that goods move by the most economic means; this should bring benefits to the places my hon. Friend mentions.

Mr. Page

Is my hon. Friend aware that transport to and from London to the outlying areas of East Anglia is of the greatest importance to developing industry, and that there have been some fears that firms might be tempted to move inside areas which appear to be less than 100 miles from London? Will he give an assurance that the radius from London which covers King's Lynn rather than road mileage will be counted?

Mr. Morris

I assure my hon. Friend that there is no ground for anxiety. According to the terms of the Bill, mileage is counted in a straight line, and I understand that King's Lynn is 90 miles from central London. Almost the whole of the area around London would be excluded, and I therefore give my hon. Friend that assurance.

Mr. Peter Walker

Does not the hon. Gentleman consider, however, that the businessmen of King's Lynn are better at deciding the most economical form of transport?

Mr. Morris

We firmly believe that, where it is able to offer a competitive service, rail should carry this kind of traffic.