HC Deb 01 December 1926 vol 200 cc1198-9
70. Mr. W. BAKER

asked the Home Secretary whether he will give instructions that owners of steam lorries should he warned against allowing such vehicles to emit steam, smoke, or sparks?

Colonel ASHLEY

I have been asked to answer this question. The enforcement of the existing law is a matter for the police. I am of opinion that action on the lines suggested at the present moment would be unfortunate, as it has been brought to my notice that the recent increase in the emission of smoke by steam vehicles is due to the fact that owing to the coal stoppage the owners of these vehicles have found it impossible to obtain suitable fuel.


Is it not a fact that what has happened was due to the shortage of police on duty, long before the coal stoppage, and their not taking this matter seriously in hand?

Colonel ASHLEY

No, the answer I have given is that the shortage of fuel, and the use of inferior fuel, is the cause of this.


Is it not a fact that the fuel raised sufficient steam to force this emission of sparks?


Will the hon. Gentleman tell us whether, on account of the coal dispute, the enactments that cover various types of vehicles on the road were automatically repealed; and, if not, will he see that the powers which are presumed to exist under the Act are put into operation?

Colonel ASHLEY

All I say is that temporarily and owing to the exceptional circumstances the Regulations are not enforced, but directly things are normal they will be enforced.


The question brackets together steam, sparks and smoke. Is it not a fact that there is not enough carbon in the foreign coal to permit sparks to be raised from it; and that as they are always short of steam there cannot have been much steam?


Like the Government, it is all smoke.

Colonel ASHLEY

If the hon. Member's statement is correct, it shows how much better British coal is than foreign coal.