HC Deb 07 May 1973 vol 856 cc15-6
15. Mr. Denzil Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will ask the Welsh Council to investigate the environmental and other problems caused by the carriage of coal and other heavy goods by road haulage.

Mr. Peter Thomas

No, Sir.

Mr. Davies

Is not the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there is growing resentment in some valley communities that heavy coal loads are being carried by the National Coal Board by road when it could use existing rail facilities? Will he consider using any powers he has to try to ensure that local authorities, in granting the board planning permission, make sure that the board gives an assurance that it will take all heavy coal loads by rail where possible and not by road?

Mr. Thomas

The scope and potential of the railways for the carriage of freight is being studied as part of a wide-ranging review being undertaken by the Railways Board and the Department of the Environment. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has promised to make a statement to the House as soon as possible.

Mr. McBride

In considering the environmental problems, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman include the problem of tankers carrying heavy axle loads which may be in collision or involved in other accidents while carrying cargoes of gas or liquids of a toxic or noxious nature? Does he agree that there are possible dangers in these cargoes, including atmospheric pollution? What research has the Department made into the problem, especially in view of the narrowness of many Welsh roads, which increases the danger? If it has not done any research yet, it should have done.

Mr. Thomas

Of course, this matter needs to be looked at.

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