Proposed Closures, The Highlands

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

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Photo of Lieut-Colonel Neil McLean Lieut-Colonel Neil McLean , Inverness 12:00 am, 12th February 1964

asked the Minister of Transport (1) what information he has received, under Section 56(8) of the Transport Act, 1962, regarding objections lodged with the appropriate area Transport Users' Consultative Committee to the proposed closures of the Aviemore-Grantown-Elgin and Fort William-Mallaig lines;

(2) what information he has received, under Section 56(8) of the Transport Act, 1962, regarding objections lodged with the appropriate area Transport Users' Consultative Committee to the proposed closures of the Inverness-Wick and Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh lines.

Photo of Sir John Macleod Sir John Macleod , Ross and Cromarty

asked the Minister of Transport what information he has received, under Section 56(8) of the Transport Act, 1962, regarding objections lodged with the appropriate Area Transport Users' Consultative Committee to proposed railway closures in the Highlands.

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has yet received information from the Transport Users' Consultative Committee under the provisions of Section 56(8) of the Transport Act, 1962, concerning objections to the closing, of the Inverness-Wick and Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh passenger services.

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

The Scottish Transport Users' Consultative Committee has told me that objection has been lodged to each of the proposals for closure of passenger services in the Highlands of which the Railways Board has given notice, including those of services on the Inverness-Wick, Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh, and Aviemore-Grantown-Elgin lines, and of certain stations on the Fort William-Mallaig line.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Neil McLean Lieut-Colonel Neil McLean , Inverness

Is my right hon. Friend aware that considerable anxiety is felt in the North lest an insufficient number of days is allotted to the hearings of the Transport Users' Consultative Committee, which, I understand, is the statutory body which will hear these objections? Will my right hon. Friend bear this fact in mind when the Committee submits its opinion to him, or to the Secretary of State for Scotland, whichever the case may be?

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

The Scottish Transport Users' Consultative Committee is a statutory body and an independent one, but I will call its attention to the supplementary question which my hon. Friend has raised.

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the chairman of the Committee has announced that he will see only one or two of the objectors? Will he take steps to ensure that the Committee sees all the objectors? They are very angry about this in the North.

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

The procedure of the Transport Users' Consultative Committee is settled by the body itself. It is independent of me, and it must do what it thinks best in the matter of hearing objections.

Photo of Mr James McInnes Mr James McInnes , Glasgow Central

Since the right hon. Gentleman was largely responsible for the appointment of the individual concerned, will he now take steps to remove him from office?

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

I do not think that I shall do that.