§ 31. Mr. Raphael Tuck
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why, in view of his declared policy of giving priority to those stretches of motorways in greatest need and the provision of crash barriers for the central reservations, he has placed the Watford-Hemel Hempstead four-lane carriageway section of the M1 low on his list of priorities.
§ Mr. Graham Page
The installation of central reserve safety barriers on the Watford-Hemel Hempstead section of M1 is expected to start towards the end of next month allowing, as always, for suitable weather conditions. As the overall 1,000 mile programme of safety barrier installation will not be completed until 1975 I think I can fairly say that this section has been given a high priority.
§ Mr. Tuck
But as on this stretch of the Ml, known as the "killer stretch", occupying only 51 miles, 116 cars were involved in accidents in 1970, while on a stretch such as the Watford-Hendon 1265 six-lane stretch, occupying 8 miles, there were only 57 accidents, why is this section being left one of the last to be tackled on the M1? Why does the Minister insist on flirting with death—and with other people's death?
§ Mr. Page
This is not left till the last. Work started at the beginning of this month on the 30½-mile section of the M1 between Scratchwood service area and Newport Pagnall service area, which includes the section named by the hon. Member in a previous question. Initial installation has begun on the more northerly part of the section to enable contractors to perfect installation procedures before starting on the rather more dfficult type of work on the two-lane section. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I use the road myself frequently and know the dangers there. We want to get on with this job quickly.