§ 7. Mr. Robert Atkins
asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he will be in a position to make a statement about the proposed speed limit for the A59 between Mellor Brook and Samlesbury in Lancashire.
§ Mrs. Chalker
I have already written to my hon. Friend explaining why I cannot agree to a reduction in the speed limit on the A59 between Mellor Brook and Salmesbury.
§ Mr. Atkins
Is my hon. Friend aware that my constituents and their elected local government representatives will be disappointed by her reply? Recognising that the advice of her officials, and particularly the Lancashire county police, is such that she has no option, does she agree that it is now up to those local representatives to bring pressure to bear on the police locally to persuade them of the merits of the case, if there are any?
§ Mrs. Chalker
This has been a difficult matter, as I think, my hon. Friend knows. The campaign for reducing the speed limit on this stretch of road began in 1982 when, I regret to say, there were an unrepresentatively high number of accidents. Whereas there were 12 accidents in 1982, the 1983 figures are down, thankfully, to five 9 accidents. That is in no small part due to the fact that we took the advice given to us and last February completed the removal of the three-lane system reducing it to two lanes. That has stopped people taking unnecessary chances when overtaking and made them far more conscious of the importance of being absolutely sure before overtaking. I understand the disappointment about our decision, but I believe that it would be wrong to impose a limit, which would not necessarily solve the problem.