HL Deb 15 October 1986 vol 480 cc802-3

2.55 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 what progress has been made with regard to the fitting of spray-reducing equipment to heavy lorries, since the introduction of the new regulation on 1st May 1985.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Lord Brabazon of Tara)

My Lords, anti-spray devices started to be fitted to new trailers in May last year and to new lorries from April this year. Existing heavy trailers are being fitted with the devices this year and next according to age. Industry estimates that about 120,000 lorries and trailers have been equipped so far.

Lord Nugent of Guildford

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that encouraging Answer. Can my noble friend say what proportion of the total number of heavy lorries are already covered and can he further say what are the prospects that the foreign lorries of our European partners which travel on our roads may adopt these devices as well?

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, at the moment I cannot say what proportion of vehicles have these devices fitted, but a large proportion will be fitted by this time next year when the final phase occurs, when all trailers manufactured after January 1975 have to be fitted with these devices. As regards visiting foreign vehicles, the International Traffic Convention, to which we are a party, requires us to exempt visiting foreign vehicles from detailed national requirements such as these.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, there will undoubtedly be little problem with regard to newly manufactured vehicles, but there may be difficulties with regard to older lorries which are still in service. Will the Minister confirm that in the annual testing of heavy goods vehicles this will be one of the items that will be examined by the testing operatives? Further, is he satisfied that there is adequate publicity given to this matter, particularly as concerns those vehicles already in operation, for which the measure will not come into effect until 1st October next year?

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, at the moment we are considering whether anti-spray devices should be added to those items that are specifically checked at the annual test for heavy goods vehicles. We have not yet made a decision on that. Regarding publicity, I think that the publicity is satisfactory. This measure is fairly well advertised in the trade press. From the figure that I have given today noble Lords will see that industry has moved considerably in advance of the legal requirements.