§ Sir J. Langford-Holt
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress he has now made in his consultations with all the interests concerned prior to his amendment of the regulations on tractor safety cabs; and when he proposes to lay the amended regulations.
§ Mr. Anthony Stodart
The Government's objective has been to enable those who buy new tractors to have them fitted with approved cabs of their own choice. The consultations showed that the amendment originally proposed would not in itself necessarily secure this objective, and that the safety problems inherent in allowing new tractors to be sold without cabs could not be overcome. However, 69W alternative proposals have now been formulated, and my right hon. Friends and I would like to record our thanks to all those who have contributed to what will, I believe, be a satisfactory solution.
The safety standard of each type of cab is tested officially before it is approved for use with a particular tractor. My right hon. Friends propose that in future the scope of the assessment should be extended to include the technical suitability of the particular cab for use with the particular tractor, including any exceptional problem of noise levels, and for this purpose the Agricultural Departments will have regard to the tractor manufacturer's views. Interests concerned are being consulted on this proposed statutory change, which should remove any occasion for discarding a cab on the grounds that it limits normal use of the tractor concerned.
Under amended Regulations on the lines I have described, it will still be necessary for new tractors to be fitted with a cab at or before the point of sale.
In the meantime all the leading tractor manufacturers have assured my right hon. Friends that, in order to ensure continuing compliance with this law, they will introduce arrangements under which the customer will be able to obtain any of their tractors fitted with any approved cab of his choice, and with an appropriate discount for omission of their cab or frame.