HC Deb 02 August 1978 vol 955 cc734-5
6. Mr. Stephen Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking in co-operation with the Greater London council and other interested bodies to divert non-essential traffic from the streets of inner London.

Mr. William Rodgers

I welcome whatever steps the GLC can take as the strategic traffic authority with extensive powers to control traffic.

Mr. Ross

Does the Secretary of State agree that in this over-crowded island it is not feasible to allow motorists almost complete freedom to go wherever they like at any time of the day or night and that this probably applies more to inner London than to anywhere else in the country? As a modest start, could we in this House set an example by doing something about the coaches that line Millbank for visitors coming here and find some more sensible place for them to park, thus allowing traffic along Millbank to proceed more smoothly?

Mr. Rodgers

I should like to believe that we can. It is not my responsibility and, therefore, I must be circumspect in commenting upon the matter. Like other people, I find the blockages caused by coaches very tiresome, and I believe that we must find a better way of dealing with them. I welcome the tourist traffic, and I welcome the tourists, but they must he accommodated—the coaches in particular—without adding to the problems of central London.

Mr. John Ellis

Will my right hon. Friend take the point, when he says that it is not his responsibility, that it does not seem to be the responsibility of anybody else? There is a traffic element in this matter. Will he at least give the House an undertaking that he will talk with his hon. Friends with a view to making a plan to say where people may leave these coaches and where they cannot, so that we have some kind of sanity brought into the situation? It is his responsibility along with other Ministers.

Mr. Rodgers

Alas, I keep on being given responsibilities which I do not have and might like to enjoy. It is a question of speaking not to my hon. Friends but to County Hall. I am not aware that any of my hon. Friends are in control of decisions in County Hall at present. This is a GLC responsibility and, until the House of Commons changes matters, I have no responsibility.

Mr. Berry

Is the Minister aware that we are intrigued by the Liberal interest in London, considering that we debated London affairs from half-past eight last night until four o'clock this morning without one Liberal Member being present? Will he bear in mind further that problems in inner London can result in even more problems in outer London? Will he do all he can to speed up progress with the M25 and do all that he can with the GLC to expedite the building of a north-south road which would be of great benefit to my constituents?

Mr. Rodgers

I think that to those specific questions I can say "Yes".