HC Deb 04 February 1976 vol 904 cc1185-6
10. Mr. Hall-Davis

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce a road sign to indicate that a length of road is without a footpath and is substantially used by schoolchildren who are obliged to walk in the roadway.

Dr. Gilbert

I shall be happy to consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.

Mr. Hall-Davis

Is the Minister aware that there are three different signs to indicate that a motorist may encounter horses and ponies, cattle, or wild animals on the road ahead? It seems that we are rather out of balance in our approach. Should there not be a similar sign indicating that children may be in the road ahead?

Dr. Gilbert

There are signs to indicate the presence of schools and that children may be crossing. The hon. Gentleman's suggestion is helpful and constructive and I am hoping to introduce and test provisional signs.

Mr. MacFarquhar

Is my hon. Friend aware that a sign of this type would be welcome in rural Derbyshire, because an increasing number of schoolchildren are having to walk to school in order that their parents can save the increasing bus fares? Will he investigate the operations of the National Bus Company in Derbyshire to ensure that increases in fares, which seem to occur every few months, are genuinely due to rising costs and not to internal inefficiency?

Dr. Gilbert

Naturally we are concerned about the circumstances my hon. Friend has described. He will be aware that the fares that schoolchildren have to pay are partly the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science who, I know, is also concerned about this matter.

Mrs. Knight

Will the Minister bear in mind that there is a particular danger when a stretch of pavement normally in use is out of use because of drainage works or road repairs? Will he look into this aspect of the matter?

Dr. Gilbert

I shall be happy to look at any constructive suggestions for road safety.