asked the Minister of Transport, in view of the congestion at some of the major ports and the consequent delays to exports, if he will improve communications to the area of King's Lynn, where good port facilities are available for industrialists.
I am not aware that communications to King's Lynn are a limitation on its use as a port. The Railways Board tells me that the railway could handle much more traffic. The roads to this area are being steadily improved to the extent compatible with the demands on the road programme of more heavily trafficked routes.
Is my hon. Friend aware of the tremendous congestion along the A.17 into King's Lynn? Will he be prepared to have a traffic accident loss or similar assessment carried out to help him to arrive at a reasonable priority for the construction of the trunk road section of the King's Lynn by-pass?
I would be prepared to look at that, but our present information is that these routes are not so heavily trafficked as those in many other areas to which we have to devote the present available funds. At the same time, there is evidence that more traffic could be transferred to the railways and be handled by them, and we would like that to be done, but I will have a look at the point raised by my hon. Friend.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, while at the moment the railways may not be getting all the traffic they could, his Department is busy helping to close down the railways and, therefore, we will depend more heavily on the roads to the East Coast ports? At least six ports are involved. Should not the hon. Gentleman's Department pay more attention than it is doing to road improvements?
We are not closing down the railways. They could handle more traffic, and I hope that attention will be drawn to this fact, because it would give some relief to the roads if the railways were more fully utilised.