Examination of Witnesses (Questions 880-883)
MR GRAHAM MILLER, OBE, MR JAMES HOOKHAM AND MR CHRISTOPHER WELSH
WEDNESDAY 20 MARCH 2002
880. That would be of benefit to them and to their customer but would also be a benefit to you even if you could not move because it would slightly decrease the congestion.
(Mr Miller) We would accept that.
881. You were talking earlier about this measure of resilience. If we are going to get a 26 per cent increase in traffic over the next few years on our trunk roads, is that not going to make resilence very difficult, that once accidents occur traffic is going snarl up?
(Mr Hookham) I would agree with that and therefore that is a very important issue for the future.
882. Do you think the Highways Agency is really addressing it?
(Mr Miller) I have had the benefit of a presentation from the Highways Agency over a couple of days last year when they looked at the potential of telematics to much better manage the capacity on our trunk roads and I suspect over time what you see around the M25 at the western end of it where traffic is controlled by both speed and lane access is the coming thing and that will increase capacity and improve safety, not only on our network when it is running normally but it will allow the Highways Agency to manage incidents much better than they currently do, mainly because not only will they have easy access and sight of what is happening but also the opportunity to use and bring in things like the hard shoulder and emergency bays and the opportunity to open up capacity to get round obstructions, which presently they do not have. It requires a certain amount of investment but they do have a forward looking plan and it is one which the operators who went to see the Highways Agency and give them the benefit of their input welcomed and would like to see in place.
Andrew Bennett: Would it not be much better if we had a lot less freight moving around? In my youth most of the beer drunk in Manchester was brewed in Manchester. Would it not be much better if we went back to local production and local consumption?
883. I think you are into an extremely sensitive political question now so I counsel you to be a bit careful.
(Mr Miller) As the owner of one of the big breweries in Manchester on Mosside we are happy for as many people in Manchester to drink it as possible.
Chairman: On that cheerful note, thank you very much. We are very grateful to you all.