HC Deb 02 May 1973 vol 855 cc1241-2
13. Mr. Adam Hunter

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has had regarding the recent accidents on the M90 in Fife which resulted in several fatalities and cases of serious injury; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Younger

Fife County Council has recommended to my right hon. Friend that, to reduce the risk of accidents involving stationary vehicles, hard shoulders should be provided throughout the length of the M90 motorway. I announced yesterday that, in view of the substantial growth in traffic expected on M90 as a result of North Sea oil development and other factors, my right hon. Friend has decided to provide hard shoulders.

Mr. Hunter

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that welcome news. Does he agree that it was a mistake in the first place not to introduce hard shoulders on the motorway? Does he recall that over two years ago I made representations to him about a hard shoulder and he replied that the volume of traffic was not sufficient to warrant it? I am sure he will agree that a hard shoulder will not stop accidents altogether but will be a determining factor in reducing them.

Mr. Younger

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his welcome to this move. If the original planning of the road was wrong, I have no doubt he will take up the matter with his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross). However, I would defend his right hon. Friend by saying that the traffic figures at that time did not justify the provision of hard shoulders. My right hon. Friend has now taken this step in anticipation of the increase in traffic due to North Sea oil and other factors. This is a sensible move at this stage now that we can foresee additional traffic. It will be widely welcomed by all who use the M90.

Sir J. Gilmour

Will my hon. Friend now give immediate consideration, in the planning of bridges and flyovers on the next section of the M90, to the need to construct them of sufficient width to include hard shoulders?

Mr. Younger

I can give that assurance. The next stages, as soon as they are given the go-ahead, will be constructed with hard shoulders.

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