HC Deb 19 January 1937 vol 319 cc17-8
41. Mr. L. Smith

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the slow progress that is being made in this country towards placing on a commercial basis the processes of producing oil and petrol from British coal, he will consider the desirability of changing the regulations with regard to heavy steam vehicles on the roads with a view to encouraging an increase in the volume of such steam traffic and a consequent increase in the amount of coal required for road transport?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

While I doubt whether any concessions which I could make in regulations would achieve the end desired by my hon. Friend, I am ready, with my hon. Friend the Minister for Mines, to consider any constructive suggestions which may be made.

Mr. Smith

Is my right hon. Friend aware that during the last five years approximately 5,000 steam vehicles have been taken off the roads, involving a loss to the coal trade of about half a million, coal-produced fuel being replaced by oil, and will he take these factors into careful consideration?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Yes, there is a tendency for fewer and fewer steam vehicles to be used, persons having a preference for petrol- or oil-driven vehicles. The Government have lent assistance by making certain concessions already, which I am afraid have not arrested this tendency.

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