HC Deb 18 June 1984 vol 62 cc7-8
7. Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he is satisfied with the level of investment by his Department in the road system in the Greater London area.

Mr. Ridley

London is receiving considerable benefit from the Government's first priority in its road programme—the completion of the M25. Within Greater London we are already planning to spend more than £700 million during the next 10 years or so.

Mr. Chapman

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, by any criterion, there has been gross under-investment in the capital's road system during the past 15 years? With the completion of the M25, does he agree that there is a case at least for a minimum new road-building programme to remove traffic from environmentally sensitive areas, to improve road junctions and to increase the number of traffic management schemes?

Mr. Ridley

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. The evidence of our doing so is the figure that I mentioned of more than £700 million which we are planning to spend on London's roads within the next 10 years, apart from the M25. That motorway should take out of London traffic that need not be there, and we must then cater for the traffic that has business in London in an environmentally sensitive way as well as expediting the flow of traffic.

Mr. Jessel

Does my right hon. Friend believe that any of his Department's investment in Greater London has been wasted by the GLC scheme to squeeze the capacity of traffic on the A4 at Cromwell road and Talgarth road, in which the Department has invested a considerable sum of taxpayers' money?

Mr. Ridley

If one wished to discourage traffic from entering central London, and to encourage people to use public transport, the GLC's method of doing so at Talgarth road is an object lesson of how not to achieve one's aims. The concept was mistaken from the beginning and the GLC must urgently find a way to allow traffic to flow on the A4. I have urged it constantly to do so, but so far the response has been inadequate.

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