HC Deb 09 February 1977 vol 925 cc1428-9
19. Mr. Dudley Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Transport why, in the interests of road safety, he will not provide lighting for the M1 motorway from the Newport Pagnell service station to the lighted section of the motorway south of the Watford Gap area.

Mr. Horam

The lighting of this length of the M1 is not at present justified.

Mr. Smith

Surely the Minister knows that lighting of motorways at night is perhaps the biggest safety factor. As the M1 is our busiest motorway, although this is a question of priorities in expenditure, is this not perhaps the biggest priority of all?

Mr. Horam

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is an extremely highly rated safety factor. We have done a great deal on the M1, as he will be aware. The problem with this section, which we looked at very thoroughly, along with the rest of the M1, was that it did not rate as highly as the other sections. That was confirmed by the chief constables, who also looked at the matter carefully. None the less, we shall continue to consider this matter to see whether we can include it.

Mr. Gwilym Roberts

I am, of course, always anxious to support the Opposition in their calls for additional public expenditure. Will my hon. Friend the Minister look not only at this section of the M1 but at other accident black spots, particularly those due to fog, in other parts of the country, and give some idea of what plans he now has for lighting up such sections?

Mr. Horam

Yes. We have a national programme for the lighting of motorways, which we operate in conjunction with local authorities, and 235 miles of motorway have already been lit, 14 more miles are having lighting installed, and for 55 more miles lighting is in the design stage, so we are making progress.

Mr. Hardy

Will my hon. Friend note that Opposition Members are consistent in their demands for savage public expenditure cuts in general but prolific in their suggestions for expenditure of a wholesale variety for particular items? Will he bear in mind, when and if it is possible to extend motorway lighting, that the criterion should not be that the area is within the Home Counties, and that there are areas in Yorkshire and Humberside, and certainly in my constituency, that require attention?

Mr. Horam

Yes, I totally agree with my hon. Friend. He will have noted the regional bias in the Department of Transport that is rather in his direction. I know that there are a lot of lit miles on the M62, for example, and on other roads in Yorkshire.