HC Deb 06 February 1974 vol 868 cc1194-5
2. Mr. Hunt

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment Whether, in the light of the growing volume of heavy lorry traffic, he is satisfied with the timetable laid down by the Heavy Commercial Vehicles (Controls and Regulations) Act for the zoning of areas in which such vehicles shall be prohibited or restricted.

The Minister for Transport Industries (Mr. John Peyton)

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Hunt

Is my right hon. Friend aware that for residential areas which are enduring a constant nightmare in the form of nuisance caused by heavy lorries three years will seem a very long time to wait for some alleviation of the situation? In areas such as Greater London, where the problem is so acute, is it not possible for local authorities to be allowed or persuaded to make the necessary orders in advance of the date laid down in the Act?

Mr. Peyton

There is nothing whatever to stop local authorities anticipating the date or using the wide powers which they already possess. I assure my hon. Friend that I do not underrate the nuisance to which he refers.

Mr. Austick

Does not the Minister understand that many villages, towns and cities, such as Ripon, Otley and Ilkley, are being strangled by heavy traffic? Will he urge local authorities to use their existing powers? It seems to many of us that local authorities do not wish to use these powers. Therefore, will he urge them to use these powers—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I remind the hon. Gentleman that this is Question Time.

Mr. Peyton

I understand the problem, and if I did not I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I should be constantly reminded of it. I have urged local authorities to use their existing powers, which are considerable.

Mr. Fry

Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that cuts in public expenditure on the road-building programme will not be disproportionate, as the success of the Act depends on alternative routes being available for heavy vehicles?

Mr. Peyton

No one is keener than I am to see the road programme continue and to ensure as little interference as possible from any source.