HC Deb 18 November 1970 vol 806 cc1221-2
31. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will seek powers to give directions to local highway authorities concerning the repair and upkeep of pavements; and if he will exercise such powers.

The Minister for Local Government and Development (Mr. Graham Page)

No, Sir. Highway authorities already have a statutory duty to maintain pavements.

Mr. Janner

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the considerable number of accidents suffered by pedestrians, particularly by elderly people, which are caused by defective pavements? Will he take steps to encourage or enable local authorities to devote more resources to the repair of pavements?

Mr. Page

As the hon. Gentleman probably knows, the Highways (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1961, put the ordinary road user in a better position in relation to accidents on the pavements. We have recently received the Marshall Report on the maintenance of highways, and this contains valuable recommendations to highway authorities on the maintenance of footpaths and roads. We are studying the report to see how it can be implemented.

Mr. Allason

Has my hon. Friend noted a judgment which was given last week and which seemed to imply that it was satisfactory for pavements to be inspected once every three months? Will my hon. Friend say what is the position when it is reported to a local authority that a pavement is in a dangerous condition?

Mr. Page

I think that my hon. Friend is simplifying the decision in that case, but I do not wish to act as a court of appeal.