HC Deb 05 July 1978 vol 953 cc435-6
4. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what research he is undertaking concerning the use of trolley-buses in urban areas; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Horam

A study of the design and possible use of a battery-trolleybus system has just been completed by the Transport and Road Research Laboratory. I shall send the hon. Gentleman a copy of its report.

Mr. Adley

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Does he agree that municipal transport undertakings, following the then fashion fad, tended to scrap trolleybuses and trams with indecent haste, and that new technology such as he has mentioned, a greater concern for the environment and a changed attitude to public transport justify a fresh and unprejudiced consideration of both these forms of urban transport?

Mr. Horam

I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman. The last trolleybus went out of service in Britain in 1968. They are still used in Madrid and Mexico City. It may be that in some ways those countries are more progressive than ourselves The report that I mentioned concluded that the battery-operated trolleybus to which the hon. Gentleman refers is technically feasible. We shall give the report full consideration.

Mr. Ronald Atkins

Does my hon. Friend agree that so far trolleybuses operated by batteries have not proved themselves and that a much more efficient system is to be found in Europe with trolleybuses operated by overhead wires?

Mr. Horam

Such trolleybuses have certain economies compared with battery-operated systems, and we must consider carefully the relative costs. The system that my hon. Friend is talking about is cheaper in running costs and on capital costs. It is something that we shall have to consider extremely carefully.