HC Deb 15 December 1971 vol 828 cc429-30
1. Mr. Cronin

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to prevent bus companies from using buses made with composite bodies, because such buses are more vulnerable to accidents than those made entirely of steel and are less durable and do not comply with the safety regulations of the Common Market countries with regard to vehicle construction.

The Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Peter Walker)

No, Sir.

Mr. Cronin

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that my information is that these buses, if involved in road or other accidents, are crushed flat to seat level? Will he investigate this? If these buses are so dangerous, they surely should not attract substantial subsidy from the Government.

Mr. Walker

I will certainly examine any evidence which the hon. Gentleman likes to send to me. I am told that design structure is the crucial factor and that either method of construction can be as strong as demand insists. If the hon. Gentleman has any particular example, I will look at it.

Mr. Crouch

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that where reinforced composites rather than pressed steel are used to replace aluminium, vehicles are not necessarily weakened?

Mr. Walker

I am sure my hon. Friend is right, but we must carefully examine the use of materials and ensure that no diminution of safety results.