HL Deb 27 November 1984 vol 457 cc759-60

2.44 p.m.

Lord Nugent of Guildford

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

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are now able to report on consultation with manufacturers with regard to regulations for fitting a standard spray suppression device to all heavy freight vehicles.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport, after consulting widely with all sections of industry, laid regulations on 10th October. These are now before your Lordships' House. They make mandatory the fitting of spray-reducing equipment to heavy lorries. These regulations would come into effect progressively from 1st May 1985, starting with new trailers, followed by new motor vehicles and existing heavy trailers.

Lord Nugent of Guildford

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that very satisfactory Answer, and I congratulate him and his department on the good progress that they have made. Has my noble friend considered how to proceed from our own heavy vehicles to those of our visitors from Europe who come here in large numbers with very large vehicles and, of course, push out the same spray as we are trying to suppress as regards our own vehicles?

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for his kind words. At the moment visiting vehicles are exempt through the Geneva and Vienna Conventions. However, there is no European Community directive or regulation on this matter. We hope that the EEC will follow our lead and that harmonisation will be brought about based on our standard.

Lord Underbill

My Lords, in welcoming these regulations as far as they go, may I ask the Minister whether it is not a fact that a number of heavy goods vehicles and coaches have been running very successfully with these spray suppressors for some time? Is there any reason why these regulations should not have covered coaches? Is there any intention to enable them to do so?—because the spray created by coaches is just as bad as that created by heavy lorries.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, at the moment it is not proposed that the regulations should cover coaches. However, I shall certainly draw the noble Lord's remarks to the attention of my right honourable friend.

The Earl of Halsbury

My Lords, would the noble Lord the Minister agree that the best way in which to accelerate European standards in this field would be to cancel any exemption that foreign visitors have in this country', so that they become subject to our own regulations?

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, as I have said, they are exempt through the Geneva and Vienna Conventions. I am afraid that I am not aware of how we could go about cancelling either of those exemptions.