HL Deb 23 November 1967 vol 286 cc1137-9

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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans for building a motorway to connect the Birmingham area with the port of Southampton; and if not whether they can say how soon the trunk road A.43 will be brought up to an appropriate trunk road standard.]


My Lords, there are no firm plans for a motorway connection between the Birmingham area and Southampton. In regard to the second part of the noble Earl's Question, I presume he is referring to the trunk road A.34 and not the A.43. If I am right in that assumption, may I say that there are a number of major improvement schemes, to the value of about £8 million, programmed, under way or which have recently been completed on the A.33 and A.34, forming the main route between Birmingham and Southampton. Other schemes are in the trunk road preparation pool or under consideration for future inclusion, but their timing will depend upon the comparative needs of this route and the overall size of the future road programme.


My Lords, as the Question asks about the A.43 and that road runs through Northamptonshire, could the noble Lord give the answer to the Question?


My Lords, I am always willing to help your Lordships, and that is the reason why I assumed that the noble Earl was referring to the A.34. Always trying to be helpful, as the noble and learned Viscount well knows, I endeavoured to answer the Question.


My Lords, I thought the road was the trunk road A.43. But may I ask whether the Minister is aware that in regard to the trunk road going North from Oxford through Woodstock and Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham, for a distance of six miles there is only approximately 4,000 yards of road which has a single line, and all the rest has double white lines?


My Lords, there are these major improvements on that road. I have not any notes on that, but if the noble Earl's information is correct in this particular case, I am quite sure it is one of the roads that will be subject to that improvement.


My Lords, I wonder whether my noble friend could assure the House that the right honourable gentleman, the Minister, is aware of the fact that if improvements are made on a long stretch of trunk road with the exception of one half mile, a bottleneck will form which will make the rest of the improvement completely useless?


My Lords, my right honourable friend is well aware of that position.


My Lords, having been stuck in the docks at Southampton for three-quarters of an hour last night, may I ask the noble Lord whether something can be done to improve and encourage improvement of the roads at Southampton before he brings the A.34 or the A.43 or any other trunk road anywhere near Southampton?


My Lords, could a high degree of priority be given to the stretch between Abingdon and Newbury, which is apt to be the most congested part of this trunk road?


My Lords, I believe that particular scheme is in the pipeline.