HC Deb 26 April 1972 vol 835 cc1522-3
10. Mr. Gurden

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make orders to prevent commercial vehicles which have exhaust emission on the wrong side of the vehicle using British roads.

Mr. Peyton

No, Sir.

Mr. Gurden

Does my right hon. Friend realise that it is not expensive or difficult to have an emission pipe on both sides of a vehicle with control from the cab? There are vehicles going from Britain into Europe causing the same problem through spraying the exhaust on to bus queues and while waiting in traffic jams.

Mr. Peyton

Wherever one puts the pipe, it will annoy somebody as long as it lets out filth. The point is to cut down the filth.

Mr. Carter-Jones

In view of his last reply will the right hon. Gentleman take firmer action to make quite sure that the emission of filth is kept to a minimum? Is he not aware that with advanced technology it is possible to get this filth down to the absolute minimum? Will he now really enforce the regulations about this?

Mr. Peyton

I am very sorry to have to tell the hon. Gentleman that he is a bit behind the times. Already vehicles are not allowed to be manufactured if they allow avoidable smoke, and from October this year—[Interruption]—I do not know why the hon. Member wants to mock this subject. It is serious. The trouble is that hon. Gentlemen ask questions and then, when they fear that the answers may be unacceptable, they will not listen to them. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that from October this year all new vehicles must be so constructed that they meet the smoke emission limits laid down by the British Standard on diesel engines. This means that the smoke emitted will be scarcely visible in ordinary conditions.

Mr. Mulley

While recognisingand supporting the new measures coming along, I would point out that it always takes time before new rules apply to all vehicles. Will the right hon. Gentleman therefore take steps to strengthen enforcement and the number of enforcement officers on the job, because the disturbing feature of the otherwise excellent Bill concerning foreign vehicles and enforcement is that it will take enforcement officers from their existing jobs to enforce the new legislation, because the Bill says that no extra staff are involved, and this would be a retrograde step?

Mr. Peyton

The most effective way of dealing with this problem is on the vehicle itself. Road side checks and enforcement measures are very difficult to pursue. The number of police and officials from my Department who would be called upon to make enforcement thoroughly effective would be very large indeed. Enforcement will always be a very difficult problem.

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