HL Deb 22 June 1960 vol 224 cc459-61

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government when it is proposed to start the motorway between Crick, Dunston and Preston and when it is proposed to start the construction of the motorway between Crick and Doncaster; and whether in each of these cases arrangements cannot be made for an early start in view of the huge amount of road-making capital at present idle and the need for a reduction of accidents.]


My Lords, the major viaducts and rail bridges on the Dunston to Preston motorway are already under construction. Tenders have been invited for the road works on three sections of the motorway and we shall press on with the construction of the rest of this road as fast as the available funds permit. My right honourable friend the Minister of Transport is considering the objections to the draft scheme for the motorway from Crick to Doncaster. We shall then have to go through the other statutory processes which will inevitably take some time to complete. It is too early to fix a starting date for this scheme. Proposals for a motorway from Crick to Dunston are being studied. A draft scheme has been published for the section from Coleshill to Dunston and objections to this are being considered. A draft scheme for the other section, from Coleshill to Crick, will be published as soon as possible.

Many factors besides those which the noble Lord has mentioned have a bearing on the dates when construction of any parts of these projects can proceed. On the subject of road-making capital, there is nothing that I can add to the reply I gave to the noble Lord on May 25th.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his Answer. Could the noble Lord give any idea of when these various works are likely to be completed? Is the difficulty shortage of cash or in connection with plans? Or what is the cause of the delays? May I submit to the noble Lord that there is an enormous amount of road-making machinery doing nothing and being absolutely wasted.


My Lords, naturally the question of finance is one that comes into the problem, but that is not all. As the noble Earl well knows, there is a series of statutory processes which have been laid down by Parliament in the past, designed to protect the rights of individuals, and which have to be gone through in preparation for the actual making of roads. On the question of road-making machinery lying idle, a question Which my noble friend has raised before, I hope that he is not implying that it is the lack of road-making programmes that has made all these machines idle, because that is simply not true. For better or for worse, we are spending more money on roads (than ever before. All this machinery, which should be described as suitable for road making rather than as road-mating machinery, is lying idle partly because of the cessation of opencast mining, partly because the aerodrome construction programme has run down, and partly because there has been very high investment in such machinery. I hope that there is no implication that any form of rundown in road programmes has caused this state of affairs.


My Lords, could the noble Lord give an answer to my question about when we may expect these works to be completed?


My Lords, as at present I am unable to give my noble friend the starting dates, I am afraid that it follows that I cannot give the dates when these works will be completed.

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