HL Deb 20 April 1994 vol 554 cc185-6
Lord Marlesford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why they are seeking to discourage the use of the new roads and tunnels in the London docklands area by traffic which is trying to reach the M.25 and avoid the heavily congested traditional routes through the East End of London.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish)

My Lords, we are not seeking to discourage the use of these roads. Motorists are free to choose whichever route best suits their journeys. Indeed, a good many are already using the Docklands highways in preference to the A.13 trunk road.

Lord Marlesford

My Lords, does not my noble friend feel that either open government or the Citizen's Charter might suggest that the route along these wonderful new roads is shared a little more widely by being signposted? Is he aware that some of us have stumbled on the secret of how to use these roads, enjoy whizzing between the City of London and the M.25 on mile after mile of unused dual carriageway, and feel rather ashamed at being like members of the Politburo in Moscow in the days of the Soviet Union?

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish

My Lords, I hope that my noble friend is not whizzing too fast because there are some cameras strategically placed on those dual carriageways. Aside from that, I suggest that if he travels on part of that road during the rush hour he will find that it is not quite as lonely as he appears to imply. The Docklands highways were built as part of our continuing commitment to the regeneration of the Docklands. That remains their primary function. But it is undoubtedly true that one of the links in particular (that with the Limehouse Tunnel) is a well-used method of skirting some of the busier parts of the A.13.

Lord Clinton-Davis

My Lords, does the Minister agree that, as far as this matter is concerned, the absence of signposts is characteristic of this Government, in that they simply do not know their way and have no intention of producing any signposts?

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish

My Lords, I must tell the noble Lord that the Government, including myself, have a very clear idea of where we are going. Furthermore, I say to him that in this case signposting is a matter for the local highways authorities and not for the Government. I am quite sure that the local authorities also know where they are going; or perhaps they do not.

Baroness David

My Lords, can the Minister say whether it is true that trunk road signposting is a matter for local authorities? I would like to add my voice in support of having better signposting on that route. On the M.11 there is no signposting for quite a long stretch. I thought that I was very lucky to make it when I used that road for the first time.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish

My Lords, signposting on trunk roads is the responsibility of the Department of Transport. The road which my noble friend is asking about is not a trunk road. The A.13 trunk road is signposted, but as we all know from our own experience, and that of others, motorists are very good at finding a quicker way to make their journeys, but then they find that many other motorists have also discovered that quicker way.

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