HL Deb 09 July 1962 vol 242 cc1-3

2.35 p.m.


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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, whether any guidance is given to relevant authorities as to the minimum width of any roadway on which parking of vehicles is to be permitted on both sides.]


My Lords, the memorandum issued by the Ministry of Transport to local authorities giving comprehensive advice on the control of traffic deliberately does not include any minimum width of roadway on which parking of vehicles on both sides might be permitted. This is because the proper criterion is not width of road but the balanced needs of moving and waiting vehicles in the light of local circumstances. The various considerations to be taken into account were reviewed in the memorandum, but the decision in each Case was left to the judgment of local authorities.


My Lords, while I appreciate the noble Lord's attempt to give an Answer to What he evidently felt was an academic Question, I should like to ask him Whether the fact that the decision must not be based on the width of the road suggests that the yardstick must be the inconvenience of parking on lightly used roads against the immense national gain of improved rapidity and circulation of traffic on the heavily used roads. I would ask whether the recommendations to the local authorities could not include some directions with regard to the width of the road.


My Lords, either my noble friend has rather misunderstood my original Answer or else I have misunderstood my noble friend's slightly lengthy supplementary question. I should have thought the doubt in his mind rather went to prove the accuracy of my Answer, which I had thought was rather more than a mere attempt at an Answer. Of course, the fact that the width of the road is not the only consideration does not preclude it from being one of the considerations which local authorities should think about; indeed, it is. It would be, I think, quite mistaken to generalise on the matter and say that all roads of a certain minimum width should be subject to a certain type of restriction; because it is the type of traffic, the need for movement balanced with the need for waiting, the number of commercial vehicles, the density of traffic, all of which are affected, which have to be considered when coming to a decision. I think that these factors, including those my noble friend mentioned, are the right ones to consider.


My Lords, after that rather lengthy reply, may I ask the Minister whether his Department gives local authorities advice when asked for, as to whether double parking on any particular road should or should not be allowed?


My Lords, I will try to shorten this answer. The Department always tries to give advice when it it sought, but I should tell my noble friend that the guidance given in the circular which has gone out is extremely comprehensive and takes into account in considerable detail—in fact, it covers ten pages—all the factors which local authorities should take into consideration.


My Lords, in view of the tendency to permit increasing width of public charabancs or coaches such as those which wait in the neighbourhood of Westminster, would it not be possible to give direction that there should be no parking on streets which would allow less than a certain amount of room for one vehicle to pass in a two-way street?


My Lords, I should always be pleased to consider any useful suggestion, but I think that in fact the point my noble friend has in mind would already be covered by the guidance given.


My Lords, might I ask the noble Lord one question? Does the Ministry's guidance to local authorities take into account the very much increased strain on a driver where there is double parking, because he cannot possibly see who is about to cross the road in either direction? Does not the noble Lord think that the slight fall in the number of deaths on the road coupled with the great increase of parking by the side of the road reflects great credit on British drivers?


My Lords, I am sure the noble Lord is right.

Back to