HC Deb 30 March 1955 vol 539 cc352-4
9 Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (1) if he will take action to see that the holder of a driving licence to drive anything from a motor-tricycle to a heavy locomotive is not required to pass a further test to convey a small motor lawn mower on the public highway from one garden to another without displaying L plates;

(2) as it is necessary to pass a driving test to take a lawn mower on the public highway without displaying L plates, why there is no guidance in the Highway Code or the pamphlet containing hints for those intending to take the test; and what he proposes to do to make the information available;

(3) what type of test is given to an applicant requiring a C driving licence for a motor lawn mower; how far it is necessary under his regulations to fit a horn, rear reflecting mirror and lights; and, in the case where the applicant's body covers the mower from the rear, where under his regulations it is provided that the rear L plate shall be displayed when the machine is being taken over the public highway to a neighbours garden.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am advised that as the law stands at present, small domestic lawn mowers are probably not " motor vehicles " within the meaning of the Road Traffic Acts, even if occasionally used on a road, and that, accordingly, their drivers do not need driving licences. Nevertheless, to avoid any doubt on the point, the Government in another place accepted an Amendment to the Road Traffic Bill which provides that " pedestrian-controlled grass cutters " shall not be treated as " motor vehicles " for the purposes of the Road Traffic Acts, with the result that their drivers will not have to undergo driving tests or obtain driving licences and that certain other statutory requirements will not apply. The same Amendment provides that for lighting purposes these lawn mowers shall be treated as hand-propelled vehicles.

Mr. Dodds

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I raised this matter in December, 1952, and again in January, 1953? I am sure that the more active members of the nation will feel very pleased, and will be thankful to the right hon. Gentleman for having at last taken steps to come to a common-sense decision in the matter?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman's name will be remembered gratefully on every lawn.

Sir L. Ropner

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the Amendment which has been inserted in the Bill in another place covers a tractor towing a wire-bailer?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I should like notice of that question, but I should be inclined to think not.

Mr. Paget

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider extending this Amendment a little further with regard to agricultural instruments used on one farm? Quite often we get a road across one farm. and it is a tremendous inconvenience if one has to go back from one farm gate to another.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

That raises a much bigger question, because the implements with which we are dealing in the Amendment are pedestrian-controlled, whereas those which the hon. Gentleman has in mind are generally not so controlled.