HC Deb 06 March 1995 vol 256 cc8-9
8. Mr. Roy Hughes

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with motoring organisations concerning red routes or similar schemes in London and other conurbations.

Mr. Norris

We frequently discuss matters of common interest with representatives of motoring organisations. They were formally consulted on the proposals for red routes and the other measures contained in the Road Traffic Act 1991, and also subsequently on the composition of the red route network itself.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister agree that the power to stop vehicles should rest solely with the police? Does he further agree that the provisions in the London Local Authorities Bill, which give the same powers to private contractors for the purpose of emission testing, would set a dangerous precedent and impair the safety of motorists, passengers, and particularly lone women?

Mr. Norris

The hon. Gentleman is right to point to the dangers of allowing people who are not properly trained to stop vehicles. The police have made that point and it should be given proper attention. I know that the hon. Gentleman will agree that more enforcement activity is extremely desirable and we are, in future, likely to look to technology to help us in our enforcement efforts, as police resources are bound to be stretched.

Mr. Anthony Coombs

While I recognise the importance of good traffic management in reducing congestion and, thereby, pollution, what is my hon. Friend's Department doing to investigate oxygenated petrol? Since it was introduced in the United States in 1990, it has reduced by more than 95 per cent. the number of days on which clean air standards are subjugated. It is an important new innovation—will my hon. Friend look at it?

Mr. Norris

I can confirm that my Department is looking at oxygenated petrol. I hope that my hon. Friend will appreciate that some of the technical claims made for the fuel are still subject to confirmation by technical experts. I agree that it is, potentially, an important development.