HC Deb 05 July 1972 vol 840 cc528-9
9. Mr. Costain

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will seek powers to make it obligatory for all car ferry terminals to make available in close proximity to the docks weighbridges capable of checking the weights of heavy lorries entering the United Kingdom.

Mr. Peyton

No, Sir.

Mr. Costain

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that is the shortest and most disappointing reply I have ever had from a Minister? Before my right hon. Friend made that decision, was he satisfied that all car ferry terminals have a weighbridge? Does he realise that the opening of the new car ferry at Folkestone on Saturday is causing real concern to the people living in the all too inadequate streets there and that it is no satisfaction to them to know that lorries have to go through those streets before they can be checked for weight?

Mr. Peyton

I am sorry to disappoint my hon. Friend, now and always, but my answer had the merit of being both brief and accurate: I always understood that neither was a vice. Having said that, let me tell my hon. Friend and the House that 12 out of the 17 roll-on/roll-off ferries have adequate weighbridges and that for four out of the remaining five my Department provides temporary facilities. I am very well aware of the problem. Indeed I believe that my hon. Friend quite rightly makes the most of every opportunity to bring to my notice the problems of Folkestone, and if I can help him in this respect I shall certainly look into the matter and do what I can.

Mr. Leslie Huckfield

Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that all our docks and harbours can weigh vehicles of 40 tons gross, which looks like being the new limit? He must be aware that we do not have a sufficient number of weighbridges for such vehicles throughout the country. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the debate on the Road Traffic (Foreign Vehicles) Bill his hon. Friend the Under-Secretary said that in future most emphasis would be put on weighing these vehicles at the ports?

Mr. Peyton

That is quite right, and it is a problem we have to look at increasingly. I have given the hon. Gentleman the figures.

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