HC Deb 21 June 1961 vol 642 cc1470-1
7. Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

asked the Minister of Transport when he will be in a position to introduce the regulations he is contemplating concerning long, wide and projecting loads and mobile cranes.

22. Mr. Short

asked the Minister of Transport how many accidents involving travelling cranes in transit in collision with other vehicles have occurred within the past 12 months; and when he proposes to lay regulations on this subject before Parliament.

Mr. Marples

I regret that the precise information asked for is not available, but I know of 13 accidents involving mobile cranes and double-deck buses since April, 1960. Our proposals for regulating the movement of long and projecting loads met with considerable opposition, but as a result of meetings with the interests concerned it seems probable that they can be so modified as to reduce the burden on industry without impairing their effectiveness. Some complex technical points are involved and the drafting of the regulations will inevitably take time.

Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

Whilst appreciating that the framing of these regulations is a complex business, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he recalls that we in Nottingham raised this matter over three years ago and that when his hon. Friend was replying to a Question similar to this five months ago he said that his right hon. Friend needed no urging in the matter and was on the point of announcing his decision? Does my right hon. Friend also know that at almost exactly the time as that Answer was being given to me the jib of one of these mobile cranes was tearing out the top deck of a passenger bus in my constituency? Would my right hon. Friend therefore view the matter with rather greater urgency?

Mr. Marples

We hoped to arrive at an early decision, but I can assure my hon. Friend and the House that the road hauliers and the industry generally raised most violent objections to the regulations which we proposed and I was in honour bound to consult them to see whether we could achieve our objective without imposing intolerable burdens on industry.

Mr. Short

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have a list of eight accidents which have occurred in the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne since the middle of 1959 from this cause? Is he aware that in July, 1957, the M.P.T.A. raised this matter with him and that in February of this year he said that regulations would be laid at a very early date? When will the right hon. Gentleman do something? There has been one fatal accident and scores of other accidents, eight of them in my constituency.

Mr. Marples

I was not here in 1957 to receive the petition. I shall be glad to have the hon. Member's list. This is a very complex matter and if we are not very careful in framing our regulations we shall impose a great burden on industry which will raise costs. If I can achieve both efficiency in industry and at the same time get the smoothness in the flow of traffic that I am after, surely that is the best thing to do.