East Anglia (East-West Route)

Oral Answers to Questions — Roads – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th March 1965.

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Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds 12:00 am, 10th March 1965

asked the Minister of Transport what plans he has for the construction of a dual-carriage highway, following the general route of the A.45, east to west across East Anglia.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Our long-term plan is to improve the existing road generally to dual carriageway standards with bypasses as required.

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that very little is to be gained by tackling this problem with a series of small bypasses to assist various towns along the way? What is really needed is for the Minister to think big in this matter so that we have a highway which will connect the industrial Midlands with the East Coast ports.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Our job is to think in terms of traffic volumes on the roads and the requirements in terms of modern transport needs. These roads are being brought up to standard in accordance with the evidence of traffic volume that we have. As the hon. Member knows, a considerable number of schemes are now in hand.

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

asked the Minister of Transport if, in view of the congestion in the Port of London, he will improve the roads leading to Harwich, Ipswich, Yarmouth and King's Lynn, thus providing better facilities for Midlands industrialists to export and import to and from Western Europe.

Photo of Mr Julian Ridsdale Mr Julian Ridsdale , Harwich

asked the Minister of Transport if, in view of the congestion in the Port of London, he will improve the road leading to Harwich to help Midlands industrialists and others who export to and import from Western Europe.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Improvements of these roads are being carried out as funds permit at places where the greatest benefit will be obtained.

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

Would the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that we have, in recent months, seen some of the difficulties that arise as a result of the funnelling of so much of our export trade from the industrial Midlands through the Port of London? Would not the hon. Gentleman consider that a great deal might be gained by diverting some of this traffic, particularly that which goes to the Common Market countries and into the valley of the Rhine? Would it not be an improvement if some of this traffic were encouraged to go on an east-west route through the developing ports of Ipswich and Harwich, which would ease congestion in London and make for much more effective shipment of our exports to the European nations?

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

We want to see a better distribution of traffic between the ports and also to see not only the roads but the railways better used, especially in East Anglia, to this effect.

Photo of Mr Julian Ridsdale Mr Julian Ridsdale , Harwich

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the roads leading to Harwich are becoming a vital artery for our exports and that motor traffic on them, in terms of export value, has increased from £50 million to £300 million in the last few years? A lot of this traffic consists of caravans and car transporters, and we shall have a fatal accident very soon in our narrow country lanes along which this transport has to go. Will the hon. Gentleman's Department do something about it?

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Something is being done about it. The hon. Gentleman should be aware that roadworks are in hand on the A.604 and the A.113 in order to improve them in relation to the volume of traffic.

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

In looking at the schemes to which these Questions refer, would the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that competition between ports for traffic can be, as the Rochdale Committee pointed out, not only a safeguard to the consumer but an important stimulus to efficiency?

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

As I have said, we are in favour of a better distribution of traffic between ports and, therefore, in considering transport requirements, we are doing all we can to improve access to these ports.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Accrington

Have these roads been in existence in the last 13 years?

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

Would the hon. Gentleman hold an inquiry—we could do with a few more—into the questions raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Eldon Griffiths)?

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

No, Sir. We are getting on with the job of improving the roads.

Photo of Mr Christopher Norwood Mr Christopher Norwood , Norwich South

asked the Minister of Transport what plans he has for the construction of a central England highway connecting the Midlands with the ports of King's Lynn and Yarmouth.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Our plan is to improve the existing trunk route as necessary, and as the many other demands upon the road programme will permit.

Photo of Mr Christopher Norwood Mr Christopher Norwood , Norwich South

Would my hon. Friend bear in mind that although earlier today the claims of the more southern routes have been stressed, if a road of this kind is contemplated it would be better to build it on the north route to Lynn because this would help not only Norfolk but Suffolk?

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

I should not like my hon. Friend to think that there was any particular proposal for the southern route. There are as many as 10 improvement schemes in hand or programmed on the A.47.

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that a policy which is based on the existing traffic will not help anyone and that his task as Minister is to contemplate the future and to recognise the growth which is taking place in the Eastern Counties? It is simply not good enough to fob us off with stories about what the existing traffic is.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Our problem is that we have to deal with the existing inheritance and improve upon it.

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , North Cornwall

While bearing in mind the claims of the Eastern Counties and the North-East, will the hon. Gentleman also bear in mind that other parts of England need the expenditure of money which has already been authorised.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

There may be perils if each of these quasi-local questions becomes an excuse for travelling round the map.