HC Deb 20 June 1984 vol 62 cc406-9
Mr. Maxton

I beg to move amendment No. 163, in page 54, line 44, at end insert 'and (c) a covering which will ensure that materials are not deposited on the road either in passage or when deposited on the road'. In view of the speed at which you put those clauses and amendments, Mr. Walker, I think you would have made a fortune as an auctioneer in America or on the barrows in Glasgow.

If I am right, the clauses dealing with builders' skips are new provisions in roads legislation because these are a comparatively new element in road traffic. The skips are normally placed on the side of the road for the collection of rubbish. The purpose of my amendment is to impose a third criterion on people who have skips at the side of the road, that the skips should be covered both when they are in passage and when they are stationary at the side of the road.

Mr. Home Robertson

How will they be filled then?

Mr. Maxton

I shall explain to my hon. Friend in a moment exactly what is meant. I do not mean, of course, that the covering would be permanently on the skip because that would be ludicrous. What I mean is that a covering should be placed over it at the end of a day's business so that people other than the user and the owner of the skip cannot deposit refuse in it as well. Hon. Members will be aware that that happens. If someone places a skip at the side of the road for his building rubble, he will find at the end of the week that other people's building rubble, garden refuse, old chairs and goodness knows what have been put in the skip. That is not really my complaint. My complaint is that that rubbish can then spill over into the road and cause a hazard. Therefore, it is better that the skip should be covered while it is not actually in use at the side of the road.

In regard to the second point about the skip being covered when it is being taken from one place to another to be emptied, the Minister may tell me that this is already dealt with by the road traffic legislation in regard to loads on lorries. My wife, having dropped me at the airport recently, was going back along the M8 near Kingston bridge in Glasgow when a skip lorry swerved in front of her. A large piece of timber flew out of the skip, bounced on the bonnet of the car and then, luckily, bounced on to the roof and off it. It could equally have gone through the windscreen of the car and caused a serious accident because both my wife and young son were in the car. There should be strict legislation to ensure that that sort of thing never happens.

We should ensure that the skips are covered when they are not actually in use at the side of the road and also when they are travelling on the road so that materials cannot fly out of them.

Mr. Ancram

All hon. Members will recognise skips in their own areas from the description given by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton), although I was worried for a moment that he was more concerned with what was going into the skips, while his amendment was concerned with what was coming out of them. He outlined something which is certainly a problem.

The amendment is covered by the present provisions in the Bill. On the first part of the amendment, which deals with a skip while it is being transported, clause 93(1) would apply to the vehicle carrying the skip. That clause makes it an offence to allow material carried on a vehicle to drop or be deposited on the road so as to create, or be likely to create, a danger or substantial inconvenience to road users". The person responsible must remove the material as soon as reasonably practicable Clause 122 (2) provides that A person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse … deposits anything in a road so as to obstruct the passage of, or to endanger,"— I think that comes closer to the example the hon. Gentleman gave— road users commits an offence". The transporting part is covered.

On the second point, where a skip is deposited on a road, it is subject to the provisions of clause 83, which specify that the consent of the local roads authority must be obtained before a skip can be deposited on a road. In giving consent, the authority may impose conditions which deal with the question of the care of the contents while the skip is deposited on the road. Conditions could also be imposed with regard to removal of the skip at the end of the period of permission. That would give an opportunity to make conditions regarding the covering of the contents on the skip's removal. The hon. Gentleman may say that local authorities will not know about those conditions. In the circular following the Bill we shall draw to the local authorities' attention the fact that they are able to make those conditions and control the sort of problems that the hon. Gentleman has rightly raised.

Therefore, the intentions of the amendment are adequately covered by the existing provisions and I ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.

Mr. Maxton

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Maxton

Clauses 83 and 84 are specifically about builders' skips. As far as I am aware there is no definition of a builder's skip in the Bill.

Mr. Dewar

Clause 83(5).

Mr. Maxton

That deals with a builder's skip, but what about other skips? Waste disposal companies also use skips. Will those be covered by the clauses as well?

Mr. David Marshall

On Second Reading I stated that section 65 of the Transport Act 1982 provided for regulations to be made to prescribe reflective and fluorescent markings for use on skips to improve visibility both in daylight and at night. I asked the Minister to consider that. In reply he said only that the Secretary of State will be able to make regulations requiring the marking of such skips. Will he tell us categorically whether the regulations do prescribe reflective and fluorescent markings, and if not, why not?

Mr. Ancram

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) will find a definition of a builder's skip at page 55, clause 83(5). That says: 'builders' skip' means a container designed to be carried on a road vehicle and to be placed on a road for the removal and disposal of builders' materials, rubble, waste, household and other rubbish or earth. I hope that he will see from that that it covers any description of a skip that I suspect he can think of.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Mr. Marshall) asked about markings on skips. Clause 58(1)(a) says that they must be marked in such manner and with such materials as may, for the purpose of making it or them immediately visible to oncoming traffic".

Mr. David Marshall

What exactly does that mean? Does it include the markings that I described? I understand that the draft regulations do not include them.

Mr. Ancram

Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to consider his remarks about fluorescent markings? I shall write to him when I have done so.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 83 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 84 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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