HC Deb 04 April 1989 vol 150 cc65-7W
Mr. Cryer

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce regulations to provide training for drivers of motor vehicles carrying dangerous, inflammable and explosive substances, and compulsory notices of the contents of motor vehicles listing the contents with criminal sanctions for failure to comply; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

The Dangerous Substances (Conveyance by Road in Road Tankers and Tank Containers) Regulations 1981 and the Road Traffic (Carriage of Dangerous Substances in Packages etc.) Regulations 1986 require drivers to be trained so that they understand both the nature of the dangers to which the substance(s) being carried may give rise and any emergency action which should be taken as well as their duties under the regulations.

The new Carriage of Explosives by Road Regulations will contain a similar provision.

The national (dangerous substances) driver training scheme, sponsored by industry, provides a network of required. The following list identifies those management and computing consultancies which began in 1988 and are valued at 10,000 or more.

training centres throughout the United Kingdom which offer courses for drivers on different types of dangerous loads. This system works well.

The road tanker regulations require tank vehicles to display placards indicating by means of known code numbers the substances carried and the appropriate emergency response action. Vehicles carrying more than 500kg of packaged dangerous goods must display the blank orange plate to alert the emergency services, but listing such dangerous goods would not be practicable. As I told the House on 23 March, the new carriage of explosives regulations will require the display of the orange plate, as well as descriptive placards for the most dangerous explosives.

Failure to comply with any United Kingdom legislation in this field is an offence. It is a matter for the courts to decide upon the level of appropriate fines, which can be unlimited upon indictment.

Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to prohibit the transportation of detonators, fuses and explosives together; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

The new regulations to be laid before the House, governing the carriage of explosives by road, are based on the internationally recognised UN system of classification of danger in transport. So are the other United Kingdom road regulations in this field.

Under the UN system, explosives are assigned to compatibility groups by either the Health and Safety Executive or the Ministry of Defence. This allocation into groups depends upon, for example, the sensitivity of the explosive, whether or not it contains its own means of ignition and whether or not it has any independent safety feature.

During drafting of the new regulations careful consideration was given to the question of ensuring safety when mixed loads are carried on the same vehicle. The requirement will be that where detonators, fuses and other explosives are carried together, effective measures must be taken to ensure that such carriage is as safe as if only one type of explosive were being carried.

Sir John Farr

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what new steps he is taking to ensure that in future local fire chiefs receive advance warning of explosive or dangerous loads travelling through an area by road or rail.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

It would not be practicable for fire or police services to be notified prior to every movement of a dangerous substance.

The new Carriage of Explosives by Road Regulations, which should be laid before the House next week, will contain a requirement for the route to be followed to be agreed with the relevant chief officers of police when a large load of the most dangerous types of explosive is being carried.