HC Deb 19 September 1950 vol 478 cc213-4W
Sir R. Glyn

asked the Minister of Transport if he can give the total figure that has been authorised for the improvement of highways, including the making of miles of footpaths on main roads, by various highway authorities; what schemes are in process and to what value; how many schemes have been approved but not commenced; and if, under present financial conditions, he will consider the postponement of these works.

Mr. Barnes

The information asked for is too detailed to be given within the limits of an answer to a Parliamentary Question. Moreover, not all of it is available, and to collect it would involve an expensive investigation.

The provision from the Road Fund for grants to be made this financial year in respect of major improvement and new construction on classified roads is £2 million. It is estimated that the work involved will cost some £3 million. In addition, £1 million will be spent on similar work on trunk roads. Further, a certain amount of minor improvement work, which may include the making of footpaths within existing highway boundaries, is undertaken each year as part of the programmes of maintenance and minor improvement work which, so far as classified roads in counties are concerned, is assisted by classification grant from the Road Fund. In accordance with recommendations of the Local Government Manpower Committee, such programmes are not dealt with in detail by my Department.

When it was decided about a year ago that capital investment and Government expenditure would have to be reduced, all major improvement schemes on trunk roads and classified roads to which approval had previously been given were reviewed and, where possible, the approval was withdrawn in any case where work had not begun and the scheme was not indispensable either to the continuance of essential communications or to development under another part of the national investment programme, or necessary to deal with a bad danger spot. Since then no scheme has been approved except within one or another of those categories.