HC Deb 09 February 1977 vol 925 cc1427-8
18. Mr. Stanbrook

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his policy with regard to the licensing of off-street car parks.

Mr. William Rodgers

I am continuing to consider parking policy during the preparation of my White Paper.

Mr. Stanbrook

Is the Minister aware of the latest spiteful idea of the Labour-controlled "lame duck" Greater London Council to penalise private motorists? Is he aware that most motorists who bring their cars into London do so—despite the difficulties of parking and congestion—for business reasons? Surely they should be given encouragement and not discouragement.

Mr. Rodgers

I do not believe that I should condemn the action of a properly elected authority in the exercise of its powers. There are different opinions about parking in London. One must find a balance. The unrestricted use of the private car is impossible without major road improvements, which we cannot afford. There should be a high degree of local option. Those who are in control should decide, and if they are wrong the ballot box will show them.

Mr. Ovenden

Will my hon. Friend explain how he can help local councils that want to ban heavy lorry parking in their areas but are deterred because of the expense of signposting?

Mr. Rodgers

That is a new point, and I shall be very glad to consider it.

Mr. Norman Fowler

Surely the trouble with the kind of restrictions being proposed for cities such as London is that they ignore the legitimate needs of motorists. Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that many motorists, such as business motorists, for example, actually need their cars to enable them to work? Therefore, does he really believe that in-sports clubs and other organisations. All these bodies have missed many millions of pounds because of the dilatory action

Mr. Rodgers

Indiscriminate restrictions are as bad as indiscriminate parking. That is why I say that a balance must be struck. Certainly it is a great convenience for many to be able to use their private cars, and I would be prepared to accept that for some it is a necessity; but it is not a necessity for all. Serious problems are caused for the majority of people working in our great cities if those who want to bring in a private car restrict in some way the free flow of public transport or, alternatively, there have to be massive new roadworks and developments of one kind or another. The use of a degree of common sense is the best way of solving the problem.

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