§ 2.40 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government when the manually-operated traffic lights on the Embankment under 516 Waterloo Bridge, which were installed temporarily in 1937, will be replaced by permanent automatic lights; and, whether the change-over can be expedited, in view of the present waste of police officers whose services are badly needed for the prevention of crime.]
My Lords, the Westminster City Council, after police experiments with various systems, have decided to replace the manually-operated lights here by permanent traffic signals. My right honourable friend has agreed to make a grant towards the cost, and the date of erection will now depend on how soon the equipment can be delivered by the manufacturers.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
My Lords, arising out of that reply, is the Minister aware that on March 28, 1946, I asked a Question on this very point, and the reply then given [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 140, col. 472] was:It is, however, hoped to convert some of the signals to automatic working as soon as the supply position permits.Is not eleven years rather long to wait for the supply position to permit? Cannot the Minister now give an assurance that this eleven-year delay will not be prolonged, as the matter apparently brooks no delay in the eyes of Her Majesty's Government?
May I endorse the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, and also point out that these lights have now been "temporary" for twenty years?
My Lords, if I recollect aright, the noble Lord's Question was directed to all the manually-operated signals in London, of which there were a considerable number at that time. I am afraid that I am not in a position to tell him how many have been converted to automatic working. I agree that his Question covered these lights on the Embankment, but the noble Lord will see that the long delay is at last within sight of being finished.
The noble Lord "has me", I am afraid, on technicalities. It will be a three-phase system.