HC Deb 25 January 1961 vol 633 cc157-9
12. Sir B. Janner

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has considered the proposals submitted to him by the Transport Committee of the Leicester City Council and other organisations for legislation to be introduced to deal with the increasing danger to road users caused by mobile cranes; and, in view of public concern at the increase of accidents involving such cranes, what action he proposes to take to deal with the matter.

23. Mr. J. Silverman

asked the Minister of Transport if he will introduce regulations controlling the use of vehicles with projecting loads and mobile cranes with projecting jibs.

29. Mr. Popplewell

asked the Minister of Transport when the statutory regulations covering the movement on highways of mobile cranes with overhanging jibs will be completed and introduced.

44. Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

asked the Minister of Transport if he will state the nature of 'his reply to a letter dated 4th January from the town clerk of Nottingham asking for an early implementation of the draft regulations he has prepared for providing more control over mobile cranes with projecting jibs and vehicles with abnormal overhanging loads.

Mr. Hay

My right hon. Friend has received and is considering representations received from organisations and bodies affected by the proposed regulations on long, wide and projecting loads and mobile cranes. He is arranging for discussions with those principally concerned before deciding finally what should be embodied in these regulations, and he is replying to the Town Clerk of Nottingham accordingly.

Sir B. Janner

Is the Minister aware that, or 9th December, he stated that he shared the concern felt by the Leicester City Council's Transport Committee about the danger likely to be caused to other road users by these vehicles? Surely he has had an opportunity by this time to examine the proposals which are being put forward. In view of the fact that the same letter states that it is for the Minister to give a decision, why has not a decision been given already?

Mr. Hay

The answer is quite simple. We circulated proposals on 11th August and particularly asked for replies and comments to be made by 21st October. A number of organisations did not reply by that date, and we have only just received the last replies. We are now looking into the representations which have been made, and we shall announce a decision as soon as we can.

Mr. Popplewell

These talks have been taking place for nearly three years. This time-lag in this important matter is unpardonable. Is the Minister aware that, during the last two years, there have been seven accidents in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, involving trolley buses, with these overhanging jibs? Will the Minister see—now that he is getting a move on—that he arrives at a decision and introduces these regulations during this Session of Parliament?

Mr. Hay

We are well aware of the dangers, and I have no doubt that we shall be able to announce proposals within a very short time. I must defend my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport from any accusations that we have been in any way dilatory about this. We acted as quickly as we could as soon as the problem became acute, and we are now on the point of announcing our decision.

Mr. Silverman

Does the Parliamentary Secretary realise that since he has received communications from the Association of Municipal Corporations there have been a number of fatal accidents and that the longer this matter is delayed the greater is the danger to human life? Will he treat this as a matter of great importance?

Mr. Hay

That is absolutely implicit in what I have told the House.

Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

Is my hon. Friend aware that we in Nottingham first made these representations three years ago after two very serious accidents had occurred during the course of six months, one of which proved fatal? Will my hon. Friend, therefore, urge upon the Minister to bring these regulations into force as soon as he possibly can?

Mr. Hay

Hon. Members know the great interest which my right hon. Friend and his Department have in road safety matters and I can assure them that he needs no urging.