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A History of British Motorways by G. Charlesworth

By G. Charlesworth

In A background of British Motorways, Dr Charlesworth offers a desirable account of ways political and social attitudes relating motorways have evolved.  He describes the early highway regulations ahead of and among the 2 global Wars and is going directly to conceal the construction sped up within the Nineteen Sixties; although, through the Seventies objections started to be raised on environmental and social grounds.These, coupled with the oil drawback of 1973/4 and the final downturn within the economic system, lowered the growth that used to be being made.

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At this stage, according to Figgures, the Treasury would try to squeeze the Ministry's estimate "in order to try to save money on it, in order to give less public money than the investment programme or that the Government has considered could be made available in terms of the national resources to the roads". He did not wish to disclose the amount of the moneys which had been squ~ezed from the Ministry but remarked that the extent to which this happened was a matter which was agreed between the Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Special Roads Act 1949 To allow the construction of roads such as motorways which are restricted to specific types of traffic, new legislation was required and this was brought about by the passage of the Special Roads Act 1949. This Act provided for the construction of roads reserved for special classes of traffic. Under this Act any highway authority might be authorised by means of a scheme to provide a Special Road for the use of traffic of any class prescribed. Where the Minister was to provide the Special Road, the scheme had to be made by the Minister and in the case of a local authority it had to be made by that authority and confirmed by the Minister.

8. T. Traffic problems with particular relation to South Wales. Institution of Highway Engineers, London, 1949. 9. BRITISH ROAD FEDERATION. Economics of motorways. British Road Federation, London, 1948. 10. E. Design and layout of motorways. J. Instn Highway Engrs, 1948, 1, No. 2. 11. DRAKE J. Road plan for Lancashire. Lancs CC, Preston, 1949. 12. SELECT COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS. Report on the prevention of road accidents. HMSO, London, 1939. 13. JEFFREYS R. The King's highway. Batchworth Press, London, 1959.

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