HC Deb 07 February 1979 vol 962 c380
9. Mr. Crawford

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has held with the relevant authorities in Tayside concerning the gritting and salting of roads during inclement weather.

Mr. Gregor MacKenzie

My Department's officers have been in frequent contact with the region's road engineers during the worst of the weather.

Mr. Crawford

Is the Minister aware that the gritting and salting of roads on Tayside and elsewhere in Scotland was much more efficiently and speedily carried out before regionalisation? Does he, therefore, agree that the regions should be scrapped so that once again local people can provide local solutions to local problems?

Mr. MacKenzie

Only one complaint was received by my Department about the gritting of roads in the Tayside region. That complaint was made by an official of the Road Haulage Association immediately after a very heavy fall of snow, when local authority staffs were already out working to clear and grit trunk and principal roads. I know from experience in the Strathclyde area that people had to cope with considerable difficulties in getting the roads properly gritted. To try to bring in the question of the future structure of local government with the question of gritting roads takes, I must say, a bit of a nerve.

Sir John Gilmour

Is the Minister of State satisfied that there is sufficient liaison between the regional and district councils on the clearing of footpaths and unadopted roads?

Mr. MacKenzie

That is a matter to be settled by the regional and district councils. The regional councils in some cases act as agents of my right hon. Friend in respect of trunk roads, but we hope that the regions and districts can get together on these matters.