HC Deb 11 November 1969 vol 791 cc155-6
8. Mr. William Price

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a statement about the future size of goods vehicles allowed on British roads.

13. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Minister of Transport what proposals he has to increase the maximum weight of road vehicles allowed on British roads to 44 tons.

35. Mr. Goodhart

asked the Minister of Transport what plans he has for increasing the maximum weight and length of goods vehicles using the roads.

Mr. Bob Brown

I would refer hon. Gentlemen to the Answer I gave to the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Richard Wainwright) on 3rd November. —[Vol. 790, c. 66.]

Mr. Price

Does my hon. Friend realise that there would be widespread dismay if some of the proposals being made by the road hauliers were accepted, and will he tell them that there are more important factors in this world than their profits?

Mr. Brown

I am aware that there are several considerations to which the Government will have to give careful thought, including, not least, the question of road safety, about which, I know, my hon. Friend thinks deeply.

Mr. Dalyell

What demand has there been from the industry to have 44-ton vehicles on the road, and, if it were accepted, what would be done to designate such roads as could carry these enormous vehicles?

Mr. Brown

The situation is that we have had the request from the industry, and that the existing roads, given suitable vehicle design, would be capable of accepting the loads requested.

Mr. Goodhart

If the Minister does contemplate allowing bigger vehicles on the roads, will he seek to ascertain the views of other road users, both pedestrians and drivers, who may well object to having the roads made even less safe?

Mr. Brown

I can give the assurance that the hon. Gentleman seeks, that all the considerations—and there are certainly very many—will be carefully weighed by the Government before we make any decision.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

In view of the very real public concern about the matter, will the Minister consider publishing all the representations made to him in a Green Paper before the Ministry makes decisions in the matter?

Mr. Brown

I will consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion of a Green Paper. It is worth repeating that there are many considerations, and it will take a great deal of time to give them the type of thought they deserve.

Mr. Leslie Huckfield

Has my hon. Friend with him the figures of these vehicles already travelling at 44 tons gross vehicle weight on British roads under special licence?

Mr. Brown

I cannot answer that without notice.