HC Deb 12 May 1954 vol 527 cc1217-9
32. Mr. Langford-Holt

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what increase in the number of public transport vehicles, licensed under his regulations, will result from the decision of the London Transport Executive to replace 70-seat trolley buses with 64-seat diesel buses; and what steps he is taking to see that an increase of traffic congestion will not be the result.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am told by the British Transport Commission that so far as can be foreseen the replacement will involve an increase of about 30 vehicles. Experience indicates that the motorbus, with its greater mobility, is less liable to cause traffic congestion in London streets. Further, the diesel buses will be shorter than the existing trolley buses.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that diesel buses will be dirtier than trolley buses and that cancer researchers have been considering that the fumes given out by diesel buses are dangerous and noxious?

Mr. I. O. Thomas

Will the Minister indicate what he means by "so far as can be foreseen"? How far does he foresee?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The health consequences of the substitution of diesel buses was dealt with by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in reply to a Question on 6th May. "So far as can be foreseen" was a prudent observation because, if the Commission or the Executive substitute these buses for all their trolley buses it would mean 30 more vehicles. They may decide, on examination, not to go as far as that

H. Morrison

Is it not the case —I know it was, but I do not know whether it still is—that trolley buses are cheaper vehicles to run than petrol or diesel buses? Are they not cleaner and sweeter-moving vehicles than the others, and is the right hon. Gentleman quite sure that the London Transport Executive is right to make this change?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I have no reason to think that the intelligence of London Transport has diminished since the right hon. Gentleman had responsibilty for it.

Mr. Renton

Is there any evidence that economies will be achieved by replacing the trolley buses?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I understand that the operator in this field, who should, I think, be given the responsibility, agrees both that it will be better to run and will take up less road space.

Mr. Morrison

May I ask the Minister whether he does not think it a good general rule that when a Minister is asked a polite question he should give a polite answer; and that even when he gets a cheeky question it is also sometimes best to give a polite reply?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I would not have thought it very rude to say that, as a result of six years' experience of Socialist Government, people's intelligence had not diminished.