City Centres (Private Motorists)

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th February 1964.

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Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East 12:00 am, 12th February 1964

asked the Minister of Transport what proposals he has for banning private motor vehicles from the centres of certain large sities.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

asked the Minister of Transport what plans he is making to restrict or ban the use of private motor cars in the centre of London and other large cities.

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

None. Sir. But I accept the conclusion of the Buchanan and Crowther Reports that sometime in the future some limitation of traffic in the larger cities will be unavoidable.

Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East

While I accept that the decision should be taken locally, may I ask whether the Minister agrees that the time to which he has referred has now arrived in London, Manchester and certain other cities, because at rush hours traffic is being brought practically to a standstill? Would he not agree that to allow only public transport—buses can carry 60 passengers, for example—is the solution in the immediate future?

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

No, I could not agree, not even in London, because the measures which we have taken in London in the last few years have resulted in an increased flow of traffic at peak hours and an increased volume can be taken by the streets. by such methods as one-way streets. A great deal more can still be done in London and we are to have several major schemes each year for the next two or three years. Therefore, I cannot agree with the assumption made by the hon. Member. Another thing is that we have a positive policy towards parking so that people are stopped from long-term parking on the streets. That in itself will make a significant contribution.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

Does the Minister recall that on 5th December, 1956, I told the then Minister of Transport that …keeping private cars out of central London is the quickest and least complicated solution to the problem."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1956; Vol. 561, c. 1222.] When will the Minister grapple effectively with this problem instead of behaving, as he does, like a beetle on a pin—a lot of activity but nothing achieved?

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

I only wish I had the salary of the Beatles. I must say, however, that traffic is now moving faster than it did in 1956 and there is a greater volume of it. The hon. Member was wrong in 1956 and is wrong again now.