HL Deb 20 June 1974 vol 352 cc1032-3

3.10 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 whether the planting of young trees close to the verges of the M.1 motorway could be discontinued, as these trees even before reaching maturity could cause a severe accident should they be blown on to the motorway in high winds; and whether Her Majesty's Government will order that those trees which could reach the surface of the motorway be removed before a serious accident occurs.


My Lords, no further planting is proposed on the existing lengths of the M.1. Some of the young trees will be removed to give others space to develop, but in any event no trees are planted within 25 feet of the edge of the nearside lane. All trees are regularly inspected and maintained, and where necessary some are removed to avoid the risk of them becoming a hazard to traffic.


My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord for his Answer. Also, I am very glad to hear that the trees will be looked at and kept in safe order, because at the moment some of them are extremely near the verge of the motorway.


My Lords, will the noble Lord consider this suggestion? Owing to the rather serious decline in the variety of wild flowers in this country, will he consider planting on the verges of motorways some of the seeds of those plants which are available in order to ensure the conservation of the species?


My Lords, I shall be delighted to convey that suggestion to my right honourable friend.


My Lords, have the Government considered adopting the system, which is fairly prevalent in parts of the United States, of planting low growing, creeping plants on the verges of motorways? They grow all over the place and never need to be reaped.


My Lords, the Department has made many experiments. The suggestion which we have just heard from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, is one that probably deserves the most serious consideration. I am not sure that we have too much to learn from America in this matter.