HC Deb 11 August 1920 vol 133 cc428-9W

asked the Minister of Transport if his attention has been called to the conviction of Messrs. May and Butcher, Limited, of Heybridge, timber "merchants, by the Lexden and Winstree Bench of magistrates, on the 22nd May last, for using a tractor without a licence from the Essex County Council, when a fine of £5 was inflicted; whether he is aware that a licence was applied for to the Essex County Council and the fee of £10 paid, but that such licence was refused on the ground that the width of each crossbar of the driving wheels of the tractor was 2¼in. instead of 3in., as provided by Sub-section (4) of Section 28 of the Highways and Locomotive Amendment Act, 1878; whether he is aware of the unreasonableness at the present time of the above statutory provisions affecting light locomotives and motor tractors, and the hardship and loss of time involved if the law is stictly enforced; whether the injury to the roads by the double journey arising from the restrictions of towage is greater than the towage itself would produce; and whether his Department will recommend legislation to repeal the above Sub-section and to allow a light motor to draw more than one trailer so long as they do not together carry more than 8 tons in weight in summer and 6 tons in weight in winter, such weight when distributed doing less damage to the roads than overloading one trailer?


The hon. Baronet communicated with me in March last as to the refusal of the Essex County Council to license Messrs. May and Butcher's tractor, the cross bars of the driving wheels of which are only 2¼ inches. The matter was fully inquired into, and on the 29th April he was informed that it was considered that the action of the County Council was entirely justified. The limit of width is imposed to prevent unnecessary damage to roads. Whether any, and if so what, legislation is desirable will be considered by the Minister in the light of any advice he may receive on the subject from the Departmental Committee on Road Vehicles.