HC Deb 10 May 1962 vol 659 cc638-9
36. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is now in a position to publish the results of the tests he has been conducting into the transport of chemicals by road.

The Joint Under-Secretary for the Home Department (Mr. David Renton)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 19th April to a Question by the right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale). The tests have not yet been completed.

Mrs. Castle

When are we likely to have the results of those tests? Is not the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there has been considerable anxiety in the House following the demonstration of the dangers to the public from explosions of these chemicals while they are in transit by road, and of the feeling that there should be urgent action to regulate this traffic? Can he say how much longer we have to wait?

Mr. Renton

These are elaborate laboratory tests and, as the hon. Lady knows, they are not being carried out by the Government, but I hope that we shall not have very long to wait for the results now. The importance of the matter is to try to find a way of stopping these accidents in future. If we can find the right answer, it is worth taking trouble.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Is it not also very important to recognise the need for urgency? There is great public feeling about this in the areas affected, and, although it is necessary to get the right results, is it not also very necessary to allay public feeling?

Mr. Renton

I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman.