HC Deb 20 July 1908 vol 192 cc1488-90

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board, if he will consider the advisability of addressing a warning to manufacturers of motor vehicles that after a certain day no car will be registered capable of exceeding a speed limit of twenty miles under ordinary circumstances.


At the same time may I ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that motor cars, when driven at a high speed, cause annoyance and damage by stirring up dust and by destroying the surface of roads; and whether he will consider the advisability of prohibiting the use upon the public highway of any motor vehicle which is capable of being driven by its own engines at a greater speed than fifteen miles an hour on the level.


I am aware that high speed is one of the factors in the production of dust and the wear of the surface of the highway. The Royal Commission on Motor Cars considered the proposal that there should be a compulsory mechanical limitation of the speed capacity of motor cars. They inquired in detail into the practicability of such a scheme, and came to a conclusion adverse to it. Hence I am afraid I could not adopt the suggestions made in the Questions.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the case of the more dangerous and, until the last moment, invisible bicycle, which cuts down passengers who have escaped the more obvious motor car?


Does the right hon. Gentleman feel bound by every suggestion made by the Royal Commission on Motor Cars?


On the contrary, since I have been in office I have had sixty-nine applications from local authorities to mitigate the speed of motor cars, and in many cases in congested or narrow thoroughfares to reduce it from the maximum of twenty miles to ten, five, and in one case even two miles. In the majority of cases I have taken the side of reason and moderation, and have complied with the request.

MR. WATT (Glasgow, College)

Dealing with the question of dust, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman, seeing that it is impossible to do away with motor cars entirely, if he will issue a circular to the local authorities advising them to tar all the roads?


Every reasonable facility which the Local Government Board can grant to local authorities for mitigating the dust nuisance will be given. The department invariably gives sympathetic consideration to each application.

MR. MOLTENO (Dumfriesshire)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a mechanical governor, worked automatically, which reduces the speed of motor cars to any desired limit, and will he make its adoption compulsory?


That Question was asked and answered the other day.


As an engineer I may say that I know how governors can be tampered with.


I beg to ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether, in view of the increasing number of motor vehicles and the speed at which they are driven, he will issue a circular to local authorities pointing out the action open to them under the Motor Act, 1903.


The matter to which my hon. friend refers has engaged my attention for some time past. I have caused statements to be prepared in relation to the applications which have been made to me for regulations reducing the speed limit, and as a preliminary to the issue of a circular I am obtaining a Report from the inspector who has held most of the local inquiries on the subject.