HL Deb 20 November 1973 vol 346 cc1046-7

10.3 p.m.

EARL FERRERS rose to move, That the Draft Agriculture (Tractor Cabs) (Amendment) Regulations 1973, laid before the House on the 25th of July last, be approved. The noble Earl said: My Lords, the main objective of these Regulations is to reduce the level of noise inside the modern tractor safety cab so that a threat no longer exists to the driver's health. Tractor cabs have undoubtedly saved lives, but they also concentrate the noise of the tractor inside the cab; and the new Regulations are designed so that, if they are agreed, all new tractors sold to the farmer after September 1, 1975, will be required to be fitted with a safety cab in which the noise level at the driver's ear does not exceed 90 decibels on the A scale. Furthermore, after September 1, 1977, the same noise limit will be applied to all other cabs sold; but cabs fitted to tractors before September 1, 1977, will not have to be exchanged for quieter ones.

Older tractors present a different problem in that it is technically difficult and expensive to make cabs which are fitted to old tractors quieter to the driver's ear. We have therefore decided to allow cabs which are not covered by this new noise regulation to be fitted to old tractors until September 1, 1977, when all tractors used by workers must be fitted with a safety cab. We also use this Regulation to introduce certain minor Amendments to the Tractor Cab Regulations. One is to ensure that tests on cabs are made to the latest British standards. Others sort out certain anomalies that occur in existing Tractor Cab Regulations. I hope that, with those brief comments, your Lordships will approve these Regulations.

Moved, That the Draft Agriculture (Tractor Cabs) (Amendment) Regulations 1973, laid before the House on the 25th of July last, be approved.—(Earl Ferrers.)


My Lords, we are grateful to the noble Earl for moving these Regulations. As one who had the privilege of introducing the rule which provides for the fitting of tractor cabs, its purpose being safety on the farm, I am delighted that the effort has been carried a stage further. When we introduced it the safety problem was the first that we considered; we did not consider noise in that respect. But we are grateful that the Government have recognised that noise is another problem that ought to be dealt with. Whatever we are doing, we are doing something to ensure not only safety but comfort for the people working on the farm. We therefore support the Regulations.


My Lords, I should like to support what the noble Lord, Lord Hoy, has said. I think we all know of the surprising number of tragic accidents that occur with tractors on the land. Anything that can be done to increase their safety, such as lowering the centre of gravity and so on must be right. I cordially support the proposal made by my noble friend.

On Question, Motion agreed to.