HC Deb 26 May 1976 vol 912 cc432-4
16. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations have been held with the Countryside Commission about the proposed network of heavy lorry routes.

Mr. Marks

The Countryside Commission commented on the original proposals in December 1974 and discussed the revised proposals of January 1976 with the Department's officials on 26th March.

Mr. Hooley

Is my hon. Friend aware that he has provided welcome information? Does he appreciate that the information available to me earlier was that there had been no discussion with the Countryside Commission prior to drawing up this new map? Is he also aware that the Peak District National Park is extremely disturbed by the proposal that a substantial number of heavy lorry routes will run through the park under the new map proposals?

Mr. Marks

It is true that a great many lorries already run through the park. We are still considering the whole question of lorry routes and primary routes, bearing in mind that the national parks often have trunk roads running through them. We shall have to consider the need for other roads to deal with this.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

Is the Minister aware that some local authorities, and I refer particularly to Cheshire County Council, might well be abusing the 1973 Act in that they are proposing that predominantly rural areas—I refer to North Rode and Gawsworth in my constituency—should have their narrow lanes opened up for use by heavy vehicles, which is surely detrimental to the rural environment and the objectives of the Act?

Mr. Marks

I would presume that there is no restriction at present on those lanes. It is a matter for local authorities to limit the size of vehicles on roads where such size is considered dangerous for either other vehicles or pedestrians.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Does my hon. Friend confirm the clear statement by his Department that it is its object to exclude heavy lorries and major trunk routes from national parks wherever possible?

Mr. Marks

Certainly. We shall do this as far as possible. In some national parks, the Peak District National Park in particular, there is heavy industry. Some of us may regret that it is there, but the vehicles need to reach that industry.

Sir Anthony Royle

Will the Minister open consultations with the Greater London Council in connection with the damage that heavy lorries are causing in large parts of South London? Is he aware that in Richmond areas are being ruined by the number of heavy lorries passing through? Does he appreciate that permission was given for these lorries by the GLC? Will he discuss this matter with the GLC?

Mr. Marks

Yes. This is a matter for the Greater London Council. The hon. Gentleman has raised this issue in two Adjournment debates. The Greater London Council should take note of what was said on those occasions.