Heavy Traffic (London)

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1987.

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Photo of Sir Sydney Chapman Sir Sydney Chapman , Chipping Barnet 12:00 am, 20th July 1987

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the trend in the volume of heavy vehicle movements in and around the metropolis following the completion of London's M25 orbital motorway.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Surveys indicate that the effect of the M25 has been substantial. The number of heavy goods vehicles using London's roads has fallen by 20 per cent.

Photo of Sir Sydney Chapman Sir Sydney Chapman , Chipping Barnet

I welcome that trend and consequence, which was a prime purpose of the London orbital motorway. Does my hon. Friend agree that the time is now propitious for the introduction of lorry action areas in at least part of the metropolis, banning heavy vehicle through traffic from inadequate roads when alternatives such as the M25 are available?

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Some people who have brought their voices from the other side of the Thames seem to have forgotten that many local lorry action areas are not controversial and are well supported. I should perhaps agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) said.

Photo of Mr Tony Banks Mr Tony Banks , Newham North West

In effect, the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) has asked for a GLC lorry ban. It is a great pity that the Minister, because of his ideological objections, has not seen fit to support that ban. What proposals do the Government have to increase the capacity of the M25, as it is clearly becoming one of the longest circular traffic jams that the country has ever seen?

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Before ascending to the realms of fantasy, the hon. Gentleman might allow me to interpret the comments of my hon. Friend rather than doing it for me. The M25 is a circle on the map, but it is designed to be used for half its length or less. There will be a review to see what extra can be provided, but the changes already made at some junctions have helped to cope with some of the problems because half the traffic comes off at successive junctions.

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

When does my hon. Friend expect work to start on the widening of the M4 through my constituency——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. The question relates to the M25.

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

Yes, Mr. Speaker—which I believe was envisaged in the roads White Paper to deal with the additional volume of traffic that is generated by the M25 in the area of Heathrow?

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I am not sure whether to answer that question. Obviously, getting extra capacity where it is needed is important. I shall try to make sure that we continue to make announcements on the widening of the M4, and, for that matter, the M25 when we can. I expect that we shall continue to see improvements without covering the whole of the countryside with concrete.

Photo of George Young George Young , Ealing Acton

Is my hon. Friend aware that, despite the welcome completion of the M25, heavy vehicles —indeed, other vehicles—move with extreme difficulty on the north circular road through Ealing? When does he propose to come to a decision on the inspector's report, which has been with his Department for about two years?

Photo of Mr Peter Snape Mr Peter Snape , West Bromwich East

Will the Minister now reconsider his reply to his hon. Friend?

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I do not think that that would meet with my hon. Friend's approval.

Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash , Stafford

Does my hon. Friend accept that much of the jamming that takes place on the M25 and other motorways is the result of the cone cloning that has developed over the past two years? A few weeks ago I wrote to my hon. Friend about the matter, in respect of which he said that he would let me have a reply, but I have not yet received it.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

We try, when we can, to send cones off on holiday during bank holidays. On other occasions when work is going on, as my hon. Friend will have heard from my right hon. Friend in answer to question No. 1, we take road casualty reduction seriously. We do not want to see heavy traffic going past workmen. We often see cones because concrete is hardening. There is always some good purpose for cones being there.