asked the Minister of Transport what reply he has made to the further representations received this year from the County Councils Association in regard to the improvement of lighting of trunk roads, and urging the introduction of legislation to enable highway authorities to provide street lighting on classified roads.
We have told the Association that we accept that some reform is needed. But the problem is a complicated one. Grants for street lighting cannot be considered apart from the review, which is now proceeding, of the financial relationship between central and local government. Moreover, any revision of the administrative structure, which dates back to the last century, would involve legislation which obviously could not be enacted by this Parliament. But my Department is preparing proposals for discussion with the local authority associations.
As lighting is a major contributor to road safety, could not my right hon. Friend look into this and allow perhaps a limited expansion of lighting in danger stretches? Does he not agree that, where adequate lighting has been erected, accidents have been reduced by 30 per cent.? These are figures from his own research officials.
I honestly think that this is a problem which ought not to be tackled in a piecemeal fashion, because one of the difficulties is to work out an objective test of the circumstances in which a high standard of lighting is needed, and such an exercise cannot be confined to trunk roads in isolation.