HC Deb 27 January 1970 vol 794 cc1194-5
21. Mr. Manuel

asked the Minister of Transport if he will have discussions with the road haulage interests affected with a view to getting agreement that heavy road vehicles should operate whenever possible during the night hours.

Mr. Murray

Heavy lorries already move by night where this suits the needs of industry and is economic. I do not think the road haulage industry needs any additional encouragement from my right hon. Friend in this respect.

Mr. Manuel

Is it not wrong to close the door in the way my hon. Friend has by that reply? Is he aware that there is almost a complete absence of private vehicles and public service passenger vehicles during the night hours? The movement of goods to the ports and industry could be achieved much more quickly and cheaply and a great number of accidents avoided if it was done at night.

Mr. Murray

I am not sure whether the criterion of cheapness would apply. But on accidents, in 1968 37 per cent. of serious casualties and 43 per cent. of fatalities occurred after dark, even though little more than 25 per cent. of all travel took place at night.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Will the hon. Gentleman reject the absurd attitude of some hon. Members opposite that road haulage is an unnecessary irritation which is really dispensable? Will he stop heaping further burdens and restrictions on road haulage and start giving some encouragement to this vital sector of our transport?

Mr. Murray

I am certain that the Government and my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) give all the encouragement to transport that is possible. The trouble with the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) is that he continually thinks that this House is a Celtic-Rangers game.