Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th July 1969.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement on the mileage of motorways and dual carriageway roads completed in each of the last three years; and if he will make a forecast for completions in the next three years.
Dr. Dickson Mahon:
The answer given on 2nd July to my hon. Friend the Member for Rutherglen (Mr. Gregor Mackenzie) sets out the mileages up to 1968–69.
I expect that 21 miles of trunk road dual carriageways and motorways will be completed in 1969–70, 15 miles in 1970–71 and 20 miles in 1971–72.—[Vol. 786, c. 105.]
Is it not a fact, though, that although the recent White Paper said that the trunk roads would be completed by 1971 at least the northern half of the road from the Forth Bridge to Perth will be far behind that date?
Without notice I should not like to make a precise comment on that. A number of roadways have been delayed due to the statutory procedures and arguments over the line of the road. I think that this is inevitable. But we are up to date on mileage.
Can my hon. Friend inform the House how many miles of motorway we had in 1964, and the mileage that we have today?
In October, 1964, which I think is the month usually taken for these questions, we had two miles of motorway in Scotland. By the end of 1970, 60 miles will have been completed.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what have been the main causes of delays in implementing the programme for building motorways and dual carriageways in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
Delays in building particular roads arise through procedural and constructional difficulties, but as my right hon. Friend told the hon. Gentleman on 24th June, our target for 1970 will be achieved.—[Vol. 785; c. 259–60.]
Is it not highly unsatisfactory that three of the major projects included in both the 1963 and the 1966 White Papers have according to the Minister's answer to me, been delayed until 1972 or 1973? Is not that a delay, and may we be told why it has happened?
We have been fortunate with the line of the road in some cases and unfortunate in others. Near my constituency we have had a particularly bad disappointment due to the objections of certain individuals. We cannot get over these difficulties. We have laid down certain rules, and we have to abide by them.
As my hon. Friend said, the latest White Paper shows that some important sections of dual carriageway trunk road which, according to the 1963 and 1966 White Papers, were to be completed by 1970 will not be completed by then. Is the Minister saying that these delays are entirely due to these procedural hold-ups, and nothing else?
If the argument is mainly about money and Treasury authorisation, the hon. Gentleman is wrong. We have kept within our estimates, and we shall achieve the mileage up to 1970. If the hon. Gentleman would be good enough to put down specific Questions about specific sections of road, I shall try to answer them. I hope that my hon. Friends will ask me all the favourable ones.
Is my hon. Friend aware that I have a letter in my file dated 1955 in which it was promised that the double carriageway between Glasgow and Carlisle would be completed in 10 years? We are only getting it done now.
That is entirely due to this excellent Government. I envy my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary who is responsible for the Health Department in answering a Question about the Nine-wells Hospital.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is now taking to speed up the construction of motorways and dual carriageways in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
Within the limits of available resources the construction of these roads is proceeding as quickly as the engineering problems and the statutory procedures allow.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in Cmnd. 2864 the Secretary of State said that the major links to the South would be completed by 1970? Is he further aware that the A74 cannot possibly be completed for another two or three years? How does he think those waiting in Glasgow traffic jams this weekend will bless him?
The hon. Gentleman would be the very first to come to the defence of any objectors who raised questions with us about side road orders. Difficulties have arisen in this matter over side road orders. I am glad to say that on the Scottish side most of our difficulties have been overcome, but on the English side there are difficulties and we must respect the rights of persons concerned. I hope that we shall start construction on this vital section early in 1970.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he plans to hold a public inquiry into the proposed widening of the Great Western Road, Glasgow.
Will this inquiry be able to consider the wisdom of widening the road in view of the relief provided by the Clyde and Lomond motorways and in view of the bottleneck which will be created on the eastern stretch of the road for very many years? Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind the strong feelings not only in the locality but throughout the whole of Scotland that this is an instance where traffic should take second place to people?
The hon. Gentleman is not supported by Glasgow Corporation in his last remarks. There are 135 objections, and the corporation is negotiating with the objectors. If some objections are outstanding, there will be an inquiry and these points will be taken up.