Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14 July 1982.

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Photo of Mr Jack Dormand Mr Jack Dormand , Easington 12:00, 14 July 1982

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what priorities he is now giving to the various policies on cycling set out in his statement of 26 January.

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

Our top priority is to encourage the provision of better and safer routes and to make cycling safer on all roads through training, improved standards for new bicycles, and promoting wider awareness of cyclists' problems and needs.

Photo of Mr Jack Dormand Mr Jack Dormand , Easington

Is the Minister aware of the vast increase in cycling in the past 18 months? We welcome the fact that the hon. Lady is a member of the all-party cycling group. Does she agree that the Government should be treating the reasonable paper plans with more urgency? Does she agree that local authorities should be put under greater pressure to implement those plans? Is she aware that the British Medical Association report, which was published this week, suggests that there is an urgent need for cycle lanes? Will she do something about that urgently?

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

The BMA is not quite up to date on the progress that has been made. All of the initiatives in the January cycling policy statements are important and are being pursued. That is one of the reasons why we issued a circular to local authorities three months ago asking them to advance cycling schemes in their TPP bids by the end of this month. We promised favourable considerations for that in the 1983–84 TSG supplement. We hope that they will take the hint.

Photo of Mr Nigel Forman Mr Nigel Forman , Sutton Carshalton

I warmly welcome the Government's support for cycling. Is my hon. Friend's Department prepared to examine one of the most unpleasant aspects of cycling in London—the emission of smoke and diesel fumes from motor vehicles? Does the Department have any plans to increase the control of emissions?

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

All HGVs and PSVs must undergo a smoke test in their annual inspections. Smoke and diesel fumes are extremely unpleasant. The maintainers of those vehicles must be conscious of it as it is a hazard not only to cyclists but to pedestrians and car users.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

The Minister gave an encouraging initial reply. Will she now give one example of each of the improvements that have been achieved?

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

I should be out of order if I were to give a long list. I shall, however, give the hon. Gentleman one good example. It is the recent opening of the Albert Gate crossing on the GLC's ambassador route, to which my Department is making a contribution of £53,000. Other schemes are in progress. As I said to the hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand), I shall do what I can to ensure that they are considered favourably.