HC Deb 05 December 1973 vol 865 cc1235-6
1. Mr. Fowler

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what fresh representations he has received about heavy lorries using minor roads; and whether he will make a statement.

The Minister for Transport Industries (Mr. John Peyton)

I receive frequent representations, and make even more frequent statements on this subject.

Mr. Fowler

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Will he give a firm assurance that in the roads programme the first priority will be given to new roads which would take heavy traffic off the roads which are totally unsuitable for such traffic? Does he agree that there is no point in providing new roads unless there are adequate powers to ensure that juggernauts use them?

Mr. Peyton

The Government have all the powers they require in this connection, but we are still a bit short of roads.

Mr. Molloy

Will the Minister consider issuing a circular to local authorities' planning departments drawing attention to these powers, particularly in cases in which planning departments are dealing with planning applications for warehouses in residential areas?

Mr. Peyton

My Department is in the habit of giving advice very regularly. We recently issued Circular 57/73 entitled "Lorries and the Environment" and Circular 128/73 entitled "Heavy Lorries". There has also been a report by Mr. Pettit. These documents were all made available to local authorities, which are not short of advice.

Mr. Sydney Chapman

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the problem of heavy lorries using minor roads will be alleviated by the implementation of the Heavy Commercial Vehicles (Controls and Regulations) Act 1973 which was introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes)?

Mr. Peyton

I quite agree. There is no doubt that my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes) has made a useful contribution to this problem.

Mr. Austick

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the timetable in the legislation which has just been mentioned is far too slow? Will he press the local authorities and the new county authorities to initiate surveys immediately, and will he take emergency steps to allow existing local authorities to reroute heavy traffic away from rural towns and villages?

Mr. Peyton

No, Sir. The timetable proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East in his Act showed great realism, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will follow his example.

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