HL Deb 07 March 1983 vol 440 cc3-4

2.41 p.m.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the considerable interest expressed by the public in enforcement innovations, they will state the areas where wheelclamps are to be used, and when the experimental period for their use will commence.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, as my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport has announced today, the Government propose that the police should be able to use wheelclamps for an experimental period in Westminster, south of Bishop's Bridge Road, and Marylebone Road, and north of Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria Street, Whitehall and the Strand; and in the adjacent area of Kensington and Chelsea between Kensington Church Street, Kensington High Street and the King's Road. My right honourable friends the Secretary of State for Transport and the Home Secretary have today laid orders designating the precise area and prescribing a release charge of £19.50. The experiment will start on 16th May.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, in welcoming that decision in so far as it answers the Question on the Order Paper, does the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth, not agree that, as this is an experimental matter, it is desirable that the widest possible publicity should be given to it? Is it proposed that there will be adequate publicity in order to get the right relationship between the public and the authorities?

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, the widest publicity will be given through the press and other media and also in the local areas.

Lord Byers

My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Lord can say how long the experiment is likely to take.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, my right honourable friend expects to review the experiment after about 12 months; that is about 12 months before the total period of two years which was allowed under the Transport Act of last year.

Lord Mowbray and Stourton

My Lords, if the noble Lord and the Government believe that these clamps should be used to enforce discipline on badly parked cars, which means dangerously parked cars, will not the danger be prolonged unnecessarily? Is it not better to have more tow-away vehicles to lift cars and remove them?

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, there are about one-third of a million car parking offences in London each working day, and the scheme is designed to reduce the number of people who may offend in this respect. If a gross danger is likely to occur, then the provisions that already apply for taking up and removing a car will continue to apply.

The Earl of Kimberley

My Lords, if this experiment is to last for a year, can my noble friend say whether the similar experiment of traffic lights at Hyde Park Corner, which is a complete disaster, is also going to last for a year?

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, I think that is a very different question.