HC Deb 20 July 1987 vol 120 cc7-8
8. Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the trend in the volume of heavy vehicle movements in and around the metropolis following the completion of London's M25 orbital motorway.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

Surveys indicate that the effect of the M25 has been substantial. The number of heavy goods vehicles using London's roads has fallen by 20 per cent.

Mr. Chapman

I welcome that trend and consequence, which was a prime purpose of the London orbital motorway. Does my hon. Friend agree that the time is now propitious for the introduction of lorry action areas in at least part of the metropolis, banning heavy vehicle through traffic from inadequate roads when alternatives such as the M25 are available?

Mr. Tony Banks

The GLC lorry ban.

Mr. Bottomley

Some people who have brought their voices from the other side of the Thames seem to have forgotten that many local lorry action areas are not controversial and are well supported. I should perhaps agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) said.

Mr. Tony Banks

In effect, the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) has asked for a GLC lorry ban. It is a great pity that the Minister, because of his ideological objections, has not seen fit to support that ban. What proposals do the Government have to increase the capacity of the M25, as it is clearly becoming one of the longest circular traffic jams that the country has ever seen?

Mr. Bottomley

Before ascending to the realms of fantasy, the hon. Gentleman might allow me to interpret the comments of my hon. Friend rather than doing it for me. The M25 is a circle on the map, but it is designed to be used for half its length or less. There will be a review to see what extra can be provided, but the changes already made at some junctions have helped to cope with some of the problems because half the traffic comes off at successive junctions.

Mr. Watts

When does my hon. Friend expect work to start on the widening of the M4 through my constituency——

Mr. Speaker

Order. The question relates to the M25.

Mr. Watts

Yes, Mr. Speaker—which I believe was envisaged in the roads White Paper to deal with the additional volume of traffic that is generated by the M25 in the area of Heathrow?

Mr. Bottomley

I am not sure whether to answer that question. Obviously, getting extra capacity where it is needed is important. I shall try to make sure that we continue to make announcements on the widening of the M4, and, for that matter, the M25 when we can. I expect that we shall continue to see improvements without covering the whole of the countryside with concrete.

Sir George Young

Is my hon. Friend aware that, despite the welcome completion of the M25, heavy vehicles —indeed, other vehicles—move with extreme difficulty on the north circular road through Ealing? When does he propose to come to a decision on the inspector's report, which has been with his Department for about two years?

Mr. Bottomley


Mr. Snape

Will the Minister now reconsider his reply to his hon. Friend?

Mr. Bottomley

I do not think that that would meet with my hon. Friend's approval.

Mr. Cash

Does my hon. Friend accept that much of the jamming that takes place on the M25 and other motorways is the result of the cone cloning that has developed over the past two years? A few weeks ago I wrote to my hon. Friend about the matter, in respect of which he said that he would let me have a reply, but I have not yet received it.

Mr. Bottomley

We try, when we can, to send cones off on holiday during bank holidays. On other occasions when work is going on, as my hon. Friend will have heard from my right hon. Friend in answer to question No. 1, we take road casualty reduction seriously. We do not want to see heavy traffic going past workmen. We often see cones because concrete is hardening. There is always some good purpose for cones being there.