asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will seek powers to enable him to take over from local authorities the responsibility for regulating traffic and parking, in view of the need to speed up traffic and ease road congestion.
First, may I congratulate the Minister on his new appointment? Is it not obvious that something should be done to get an improvement in the present shocking system of parking and resultant traffic congestion in all our big cities? Is there not a need to get some co-ordination here?
I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's congratulations. I agree that something is necessary. We think that local authorities are capable of taking the decisions themselves. At the same time, a great deal of advice is issued from my Department. A comprehensive manual of guidance entitled "Traffic Management and Parking" was issued to local authorities in 1969 giving detailed advice on such problems as those which concern the hon. Member. In addition we are studying short-term traffic and transport plans submitted by local authorities, advice is transmitted to local authorities by divisional road engineers, and the Department holds periodic seminars up and down the country.
Studies of several methods are in hand and are making progress, for example new techniques of area traffic control, more effective parking control, better use of traffic wardens and further bus priority provisions. The application of these new methods will be a part of the modern concept of urban planning, the structure plans and local plans, the furtherance of which is one of the Government's main objectives in local government.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in Leicester, with some 11,000 families on the housing list, an enormous scheme is planned for the roads in the centre of the city, with other schemes coming in from the outskirts? Would it not be better to place homes before roads in those circumstances?