HL Deb 19 July 1979 vol 401 cc1613-4WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many coaches carrying tourists are present in Central London on average, and during which months of the year; what powers the traffic authorities have over their routeing, size, weight, and carrying capacity; and whether, in the Government's experience, these powers are sufficient to prevent damage to the physical (road surface, pavements, underground pipes, etc., belonging to the public utilities et cetera) and social environments; and on what evidence the Government's opinion is based.


About 250 tourist coaches operate daily in Central London during the main holiday season from June to September. The size, weight and carrying capacity of coaches is controlled by my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport through regulations under the Road Traffic Act of 1972. The Greater London Council are traffic authority for the whole area and they have restrictive powers under the Road Traffic Acts over the movement and parking of coaches.

So far as the last part of the noble Lord's question is concerned, the Greater London Council, Westminster City Council and the Common Council of the City of London are the principal highway authorities for roads in Central London. I understand it is not possible to identify separately the wear and tear to roads and public service apparatus caused by coaches as distinct from the everyday damage done by the many tens of thousands of other vehicles on roads in Central London. But my right honourable friend is satisfied that present legislation allows the highway authorities to get the appropriate steps taken to control coach movement and parking where this is deemed necessary.