HC Deb 22 July 1971 vol 821 cc1655-6
10. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the present state of the law in relation to the conveyance of dangerous substances ; and if he will consider alteration of the law with a view to providing greater protection.

Mr. Sharples

The Standing Advisory Committee on Dangerous Substances is considering a number of proposals for improving the arrangements for conveyance by road.

Mr. Spriggs

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the latest regulations, brought into force this year, fall far short of what is required to meet the worrying situation in which many tankers carrying dangerous loads travel on the roads without any identification whatever, and that the emergency services which are expected to deal with accidents when they happen have no easy and clear means of identifying the substance being carried? What action is he taking to ensure that all dangerous substances are clearly labelled?

Mr. Sharples

The problem is somewhat complex. The existing powers arise under the Explosives Act, 1875 and the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act, 1928. These powers are too narrow, and we are looking at the whole field of legislation in this respect.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Will not my hon. Friend agree that at least part of the trouble is that unsuitable vehicles are using unsuitable roads, and this is causing some of the problems? Will he review this aspect of the matter and see whether legislation is needed to deal with it?

Mr. Sharples

That is part of the problem, but only part of it. As I have said, the problem goes much wider than that, and that is why we are examining it in the very widest context.