HC Deb 15 February 1968 vol 758 cc1561-2
8. Mr. E. Rowlands

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will introduce legislation to control the transportation of dangerous materials by road; and whether such legislation will cover the over 800 dangerous substances carried by road.

Mr. Ennals

The carriage of explosives, acetylene, petroleum spirit and certain other dangerous substances is already subject to statutory control. On the advice of the Standing Advisory Committee on Dangerous Substances, my right hon. Friend will shortly be making regulations dealing with the conveyance by road of over 200 inflammable liquids, and work has begun on similar regulations about corrosives. Regulations about poisons, organic peroxides and other classes of dangerous substances commonly carried by road will follow.

Mr. Rowlands

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that it is time that a sense of urgency was injected into this matter? Is he aware that for about seven years we have been discussing legislation and regulations regarding the carriage of dangerous loads? Will he urge my right hon. Friend to complete the whole job by including all 800 or more substances which are carried by road?

Mr. Ennals

A sense of urgency does exist and I can promise my hon. Friend that the statutes to which I referred will be brought forward within a very few weeks. As for the others, they entail a great deal of consultation with the industries concerned, but I assure my hon. Friend that they are already proceeding and that we are treating the matter with extreme urgency.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Having regard to the nasty cases we have had recently of inflammable materials being carried by road, would it not be right to put the control of inflammable materials carried by road under the Ministry of Transport instead of under the Explosives Department of the Home Office, as the Ministry of Transport would be able to deal with it better?

Mr. Ennals

That aspect of the question is under consideration.

Mr. Horner

Is my hon. Friend aware that his Department, for nearly 10 years, has been unsuccessfully trying to devise a simple method of labelling these substances so that in an emergency firemen may know what they are dealing with? Will he take it from me that his statement this afternoon that we can expect some legislation for control of the transport of these substances will be met with great scepticism in the Fire Service?

Mr. Ennals

It is true that there has been delay over many years—I believe over 10 years—but I think my hon. Friend will be satisfied when he sees the progress which is now being made. I hope that he will welcome the regulations when they are brought forward.