HC Deb 21 April 1969 vol 782 cc9-10
32. Mr. Geoffrey Wilson

asked the Minister of Transport what, in money terms, was the amount of planned road construction in the county of Cornwall in the road programme for 1968; what was achieved in that year; and what lengths of roadway these figures represent.

Mr. Bob Brown

During the financial year 1968–69 the value of new trunk and principal road improvement work programmed for commitment or grant assistance was £541,200. The value of work actually committed or approved for grant was £542,550, representing work on approximately 3½ miles of new or improved road.

The amounts of actual expenditure during 1968–69, including work on schemes programmed earlier, are not yet available.

Mr. Wilson

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that Cornwall, being a development area, is particularly dependent on transport? Will he ensure that all possible progress is made for the rapid improvement of transport facilities in that area?

Mr. Brown

The Government are very well aware of the needs of Cornwall as a development area. That is precisely why the A30 and the A38 have now been given relative priority as the main route to Cornwall. This policy is supported by the South-West Economic Planning Council and by the Joint Committee for the South-West.

Dr. John Dunwoody

Will not my hon. Friend agree that major road improvements are an integral part of regional policy, and in a peripheral area like Cornwall that work is even more important than in development areas as a whole? Will he continue to look at the special need for main road improvements in this county?

Mr. Brown

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Bessell

Is the Minister aware that the figures he has just given are deplorably low? Even though the improvements to the A30 and A38 are to be welcomed, they will not be helpful unless there is similar development of the roads within the county to accommodate traffic.

Mr. Brown

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman should be quite so pessimistic. In terms of road mileage, it is true that 3½ miles is not much road, but the hon. Gentleman should understand that one can create quite a considerable improvement by spending a fair bit of money simply on junction improvement.