By the end of 1961, 13 local authorities had applied for designation orders, thereby showing a definite intention to install parking meters. All these have parking meters now.
Would not my right hon. Friend agree that a certain number of authorities are departing from their original intention to install parking meters? Does not this show that these authorities are very far-sighted? Will my right hon. Friend, as a very far-sighted Minister, give encouragement to other forms of parking control?
I have tried to do my best to give encouragement to other forms of control. That is why we introduced, in the 1962 Act, provisions for discs if a local authority wished to take the initiative and bring forward a disc scheme. I am at present looking informally at one such scheme from Cheltenham. But each local area has its own special problems. In some cases, meters are necessary—in the heart of London, for example. In other, smaller, towns they may not be necessary. Each local authority should deal with its problems on their merits. I would inform my hon. Friend that in 1961 we had 8,000 parking meters in London. In 1963 the number went up to 15,000, in 1964 another 1,000 have been added and a further 2,900 are under consideration. It is, therefore, clear that in the centre of London people have not departed from the idea of parking meters.
As far as I know, only two metropolitan boroughs are considering the possibilities of parking control with discs. I am studying proposals which they have put to me informally. No formal proposals have been made.
I have not received any proposals from metropolitan boroughs for the control of short-term parking solely by means of waiting restrictions enforced by traffic wardens.
Would not my right hon. Friend agree that the disc system makes far more economical use of available road space than does the meter system? Would he not also agree that by and large the proliferation of these hideous meters throughout a city pleases no one except the dog population?
I am not responsible for the dog population. It is very difficult in question and answer to discuss the merits of various restrictions upon cars in the streets, but I am certain that, while meters have some disadvantages, they have a great many advantages. They show clearly and accurately the passage of time and when a given period has expired. What is important is that they give rise to fewer offences. Paris has about 15 times the number of tickets issued in a comparable area of London—that is, 3 million a year as against 200,000. Parking meters allow for more flexible control and they have great merit. At the same time, I recognise that they have disadvantages. But on balance I think that they are the right thing for London.