§ Mr. Knox
asked the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller) at column 137 on 13 January regarding the 1987–88 transport supplementary grant, what proportion of the £55 million grant for minor works has been set aside for schemes arising from accident investigation and prevention work both on trunk roads and on local roads eligible for transport supplementary grant.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
We are still finalising details of the Department's programme for 1987–88. I expect a substantial proportion of the £35 million for schemes costing less than £1 million on trunk roads in 1986–87 to be spent on low cost-high return safety engineering schemes. The local authorities will be involved as agents in working up detailed proposals. To help them, we have already mounted a seminar in London and plan one in the west midlands. Others will follow.
Benefits to road safety are important considerations in the distribution of transport supplementary grant. The £360 million of expenditure my right hon. Friend announced that we intend to accept for 1987–88 will attract grant at 50 per cent. This will help local authorities improve their more important roads. Not all local authorities have a systematic accident investigation and prevention programme.
I have written to all local highway authority chairmen drawing their attention to the Department's new manual on accident investigation and prevention. I hope that over the coming years all local highway authorities will begin to use this proven method of reducing casualties much 4W more extensively. It is for local authorities to decide their priorities and to take advantage of the increase in accepted expenditure towards their programme of minor works.