HC Deb 14 February 1973 vol 850 cc1260-1
3. Mr. J. H. Osborn

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will agree to support an immediate survey of the passenger car and public transport requirements of the city of Sheffield, and the need to improve accessibility of customers and freight to all shops, department stores, and places of trade.

The Minister for Transport Industries (Mr. John Peyton)

My Department is already supporting the land use transportation study, which includes extensive surveys of the movement of people and freight.

Mr. Osborn

The Secretary of State for the Environment has had letters on this subject. Is there not a need for cities and towns to publish their proposals, and is there not the additional difficulty that shopkeepers tend to distrust proposals put forward by Socialist councils? Bearing in mind, first, the recommendation of the Select Committee that the central Government should take more interest in these matters, second, the fact that the Minister has intervened in regard to the Moss-borough expressway in Sheffield, and third, the need to put forward more ring road and through-bus route proposals, will not my right hon. Friend do something more active to support all cities—including Sheffield—which have to deal with these problems?

Mr. Peyton

I do not think that further action is called for from my Department, beyond support for the study. In general, I wish to encourage sensible experiments and consultation. I remind the House that when one takes measures such as I believe have to be taken to curtail the movement of the motor car they will always provoke protests—very often from traders whose anxieties are subsequently seen to be not too well founded.

Mr. Darling

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept it from me that his answer will give a great deal of satisfaction in Sheffield? Does he agree that these matters must be settled by the local authority, in consultation with all the local interests concerned? Further, does he accept that there is a great deal of public support for what the Sheffield council is doing in this respect?

Mr. Peyton

Within limits, I would accept almost anything from the right hon. Gentleman.

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