Inner London (Traffic)

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd August 1978.

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Photo of Mr Stephen Ross Mr Stephen Ross , Isle of Wight 12:00 am, 2nd August 1978

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking in co-operation with the Greater London council and other interested bodies to divert non-essential traffic from the streets of inner London.

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Teesside Stockton

I welcome whatever steps the GLC can take as the strategic traffic authority with extensive powers to control traffic.

Photo of Mr Stephen Ross Mr Stephen Ross , Isle of Wight

Does the Secretary of State agree that in this over-crowded island it is not feasible to allow motorists almost complete freedom to go wherever they like at any time of the day or night and that this probably applies more to inner London than to anywhere else in the country? As a modest start, could we in this House set an example by doing something about the coaches that line Millbank for visitors coming here and find some more sensible place for them to park, thus allowing traffic along Millbank to proceed more smoothly?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Teesside Stockton

I should like to believe that we can. It is not my responsibility and, therefore, I must be circumspect in commenting upon the matter. Like other people, I find the blockages caused by coaches very tiresome, and I believe that we must find a better way of dealing with them. I welcome the tourist traffic, and I welcome the tourists, but they must he accommodated—the coaches in particular—without adding to the problems of central London.

Photo of Mr John Ellis Mr John Ellis , Brigg and Scunthorpe

Will my right hon. Friend take the point, when he says that it is not his responsibility, that it does not seem to be the responsibility of anybody else? There is a traffic element in this matter. Will he at least give the House an undertaking that he will talk with his hon. Friends with a view to making a plan to say where people may leave these coaches and where they cannot, so that we have some kind of sanity brought into the situation? It is his responsibility along with other Ministers.

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Teesside Stockton

Alas, I keep on being given responsibilities which I do not have and might like to enjoy. It is a question of speaking not to my hon. Friends but to County Hall. I am not aware that any of my hon. Friends are in control of decisions in County Hall at present. This is a GLC responsibility and, until the House of Commons changes matters, I have no responsibility.

Photo of Hon. Anthony Berry Hon. Anthony Berry , Southgate

Is the Minister aware that we are intrigued by the Liberal interest in London, considering that we debated London affairs from half-past eight last night until four o'clock this morning without one Liberal Member being present? Will he bear in mind further that problems in inner London can result in even more problems in outer London? Will he do all he can to speed up progress with the M25 and do all that he can with the GLC to expedite the building of a north-south road which would be of great benefit to my constituents?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Teesside Stockton

I think that to those specific questions I can say "Yes".