HL Deb 28 April 1986 vol 474 cc3-4

2.42 p.m.

Lord Gainford

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

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are any road developments planned in London following the abolition of the GLC which will be eligible for government grants.

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, I understand that a number of boroughs are currently developing plans to tackle bad traffic problems in their areas and we shall consider bids for grant assistance when they come forward. This year boroughs are getting £32 million of transport supplementary grant, including support for 23 major schemes, 15 of them new this year. A further £73 million of their expenditure on roads is eligible for block grant support.

Lord Gainford

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that Answer. Are the grants he mentions for new road schemes only?

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, major road improvements, traffic management schemes and provisions for cyclists are eligible. The latest TSG circular draws attention to this.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, may I ask the noble Viscount about two matters associated with the original Question? First, do not all traffic management schemes on roads that are designated by the Secretary of State have to be vetted by the department and guidance notes issued to the boroughs concerned; and have those guidance notes yet been issued? Secondly, as there is no strategic authority for greater London—Parliament in its wisdom decided not to have one—are there any steps for co-ordination of priorities and overall policies for road schemes?

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, the Department of Transport published guidance to local authorities in Circular 2/86 on 1st April 1986. That has gone to all boroughs. The title is Transport Policies and Programme Submissions for 1987–88. As regards co-ordination between boroughs and the department, the noble Lord will be interested to know that on 14th April Circular 3/86, entitled Highways and Traffic Management in London from 1st April, 1986, sets out full details of the arrangements now in place.

Lord Strabolgi

My Lords, is there any overall plan to deal with the question of the long-distance coaches in London? I do not mean the tourist coaches but the long-distance passenger coaches which at the moment are concentrated on one bus station in Victoria. Is it proposed to have another station in the north of London for the north of England traffic, or is it all to be left to the whim of local authorities?

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, with respect, I feel that that supplementary question is rather outside the scope of the original Question and I shall have to write to the noble Lord.

Lord Avebury

My Lords, can the noble Viscount confirm that the change following abolition of the GLC is from one set of strategic proposals being submitted by the GLC in respect of metropolitan roads to 32 different sets of proposals being submitted by the London boroughs and the City of London? Can he say what increase in staff in the Department of Transport will be necessary to cope with a 32-fold increase in the number of applications?

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, as far as I am aware there will not be any increase in staff, but I shall check with the department.