HC Deb 24 March 1976 vol 908 cc389-90
11. Mr. Fairgrieve

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects the road between Dundee and Aberdeen, via Forfar and Stonehaven, to be dual carriageway throughout.

Mr. Millan

Dual carriageways are being constructed currently between Aberdeen and Stonehaven; the remainder is to be rebuilt mainly as a high standard single carriageway designed so that it can be converted to dual carriageways when the need for this is established.

Mr. Fairgrieve

I accept that reply. However, may I suggest to the Minister that there is one part of Scotland which, for the sake of the United Kingdom, now needs a dual carriageway, and that is the road to the oil areas? It is this matter that should be attended to, rather than building more dual carriageways in areas in which, we are told, industry is declining.

Mr. Millan

I am sure that we are not building dual carriageways in Scotland where they are not needed. Again this is a question of priorities, and the capacity of the particular road concerned does not justify a dual carriageway at present.

Mr. Robert Hughes

Would it not be more desirable and economical if better use were made of the railway system to carry much of the goods now carried by road?

Mr. Millan

That also applies in a number of other parts of the country, but, unfortunately, even if there were a major transfer of traffic from road to rail the effect on the road system as a whole would be comparatively marginal.

Mr. Henderson

Bearing in mind the needs north of Aberdeen towards Peterhead and St. Fergus, where the system carries an enormous amount of traffic to and from the gas terminal and other developments, has the Minister any constructive proposals in terms of road or rail to relieve congestion?

Mr. Millan

I am bearing those matters in mind. If the hon. Gentleman will bear it in mind to table a Question on the subject, I shall answer it.

Mr. Doig

Is the route mentioned in the original Question the official main route approved by the Department for traffic between Dundee and Aberdeen?

Mr. Millan

Yes, as we have made clear on other occasions. We sent formal intimation of this state of affairs to the two regional councils concerned in January, but we have not had their formal reply.