HC Deb 21 January 1970 vol 794 cc484-5
5. Mr. Monro

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what weight he gives to tourism when considering his priorities for major road improvements.

Mr. Ross

The encouragement of tourism, which is an important part of our strategy for developing Scotland, is fully taken into account in planning the road programme.

Mr. Monro

Is the Secretary of State aware that I am concerned at the evidence given by his Department to the Estimates Committee which gave the impression that it is difficult to justify expenditure for roads covering tourism for a relatively short season?

Mr. Ross

One has to put this into proper perspective. The hon. Member knows quite well what we have been doing. We have been giving considerable weight to this in the Highland area, and, indeed, in the hon. Member's area. It is not always easy to justify this expenditure where the weight of traffic is not likely to be such as to necessitate major road schemes. The hon. Member should know that in his own area, for instance, on the M.6 and A.74, Gretna by-pass, the A.75 Gretna-Annan-Dumfries-Stranraer, the A.76 Dumfries-Thornhill-Cumnock and the A.77 Maybole-Girvan and down that way. work s presently going on or is being assessed for improvement. The hon. Member need have no fear about his area.

Mr. Lawson

Will my right hon. Friend remember that many of us do not want to see roads driven through every part el Scotland? Will he bear in mind that much of Scotland should be preserved from tourists rather than opened up to tourists?

Mr. Ross

That was one of the reasons why we went forward with the Countryside Commission. In this particular year—Conservation Year—we have to bear in mind the very suggestion made by my hon. Friend, that there are areas which we want to preserve. We do not want to make it too easy for the lazy tourist.

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