HC Deb 22 November 1972 vol 846 cc1276-8
14. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what communications he has received from Glasgow Corporation concerning the use of old Glasgow Central low-level line and tunnels; what reply he has sent; and if he will make a statement.

20. Mr. William Hannan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the delay in giving effect to the Greater Glasgow Transport Study proposals and in particular the reopening of the central low-level railway line; when approval can be expected; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Younger

Good progress is being made in implementing the recommendations concerning roads. Those concerning railways depend on detailed schemes first being put forward by British Rail. My right hon. Friend has approved a 75 per cent. grant for the resignalling and electrification of the Hamilton Circle line and has offered British Rail financial assistance towards the cost of the studies it still needs to undertake on the other recommended projects, including the Central low-level line.

Glasgow Corporation, which has expressed strong support for the early implementation of the transport recommendations, is fully aware of all this.

Mr. Carmichael

I thank the Minister for that reply, but will he bear in mind that the Transport Act, 1968, gave the Government considerable power to influence developments in urban transport, including in particular the shifting of the balance of investment from private transport to public passenger transport? Will he look again at his powers under that Act since, although the Act was, I believe, a big breakthrough, we have perhaps learned enough now to update it, and force local authorities and passenger transport authorities to think more in terms of public passenger transport?

Mr. Younger

These are early days yet for the Glasgow PTA, and I very much hope that it will be giving thought to that aspect of transport planning. At present we are making substantial progress with implementation and we are in close contact with British Rail about it. If the hon. Gentleman would like me to investigate any particular points, I shall be glad to do so.

Mr. Hannan

If the Minister is paying attention to the proposals arising from the Greater Glasgow Transport Study, why was priority given to other matters over one for which the study asked—namely, the reopening of the Central line? This line is an asset which is the envy of many of our cities and it is essential for the integration of transport within the city. What were the reasons for refusing priority to the reopening of that line in the four proposals which were put to the Minister?

Mr. Younger

As the hon. Gentleman may remember, Volume 4 of "Planning for Action" put as the first priority the electrification of the Hamilton Circle line. That was originally put to us as being the first priority, and we therefore approved it—I hope in good time. We are now considering the next phase.

Mr. Clark Hutchison

Will my hon. Friend do his best to get the suburban lines hack in Edinburgh and to throw out the—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Question relates to Glasgow.