HC Deb 14 July 1960 vol 626 cc1587-8
25. Mr. Farr

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to the incident at Uxbridge on 5th July when acid fell from a lorry in motion and burned several people; and, in view of this further example of the careless transportation of dangerous substances, what action he proposes to take.

Mr. Vosper

Yes, Sir. My information is that a motor-cyclist who had fallen from his machine and a pedestrian who went to his assistance suffered slight injuries from a patch of butyric acid on the road. It is thought that the butyric acid fell from a carboy on a passing lorry, but police inquiries are not yet complete and I am not therefore in a position to say what action it may be appropriate to take.

Mr. Farr

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that the time has now arrived for new legislation to be introduced in this connection? He may well remember that earlier this year Questions were raised in the House in connection with the transportation of dangerous substances in Leicestershire. This further accident of a similar nature reinforces a request to introduce new legislation

Mr. Vosper

I should like my hon. Friend to know that in the previous case a conviction was obtained under existing powers. It may well be that that will apply in the existing case, but I do not wish to go further at this stage.

Miss Bacon

Will not the right hon. Gentleman ask the police to be more vigilant with regard to lorries loaded high with substances which may fall from them? There are many such lorries going around the country. Cannot the drivers and owners be prosecuted under the Litter Act?

Mr. Vosper

They certainly can be prosecuted under the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations for using unsuitable vehicles or failing to secure the load, as happened in the earlier case mentioned by my hon. Friend. That may apply to the case which he has raised today.