§ Mr. Walters
asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what criteria were used in fixing the current minimum United Kingdom tyre tread depth; and what account was taken of the relevant provisions in other European countries;
(2) what evidence led the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley), to conclude that increasing the United Kingdom's minimum tyre tread depth would not be of any significant benefit to road safety;
(3) if he will give figures on which the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley), based the statement that a substantial cost to road users would result from a change in the tyre tread regulations.403W
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
The current minimum tyre tread depth requirement in the United Kingdom as in most European countries is 1 mm. Our regulations do allow less tread than this on the outer edge of the tyre which often gets worn at a slightly faster rate than the tread in the middle. Recent work by the transport and road research laboratory has confirmed that such tyres within the legal limits provide as much adhesion as tyres with I mm tread over the whole width. The research findings were discussed with trade and motoring organisations in February. Tyre replacement is a significant part of motoring costs. Additional wear permitted may prolong the useful life of tyres for several thousand miles.
We do not encourage the use of tyres up to the limits of legality.