HC Deb 09 July 2002 vol 388 cc803-4W
Andrew George

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent assessment he has made of the likely impact of bull bars on pedestrians who are involved in collision with the front of vehicles at varying speeds; [68381]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of proposals to ban the fitting of bull bars to the front of vehicles in the United Kingdom; [68382]

(3) how many vehicles with bull bars were licensed for use on United Kingdom roads in each of the last five years for which records are available. [68380]

Mr. Jamieson

The Government funded a comprehensive TRL study that looked into the likely effects of bull bars on pedestrians and recommended test procedures to identify aggressive designs. The report "Assessment and Test Procedures for Bull Bars" by G. Lawrence, C. Rodmell and A. Osborne has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

We have concluded that the most effective way of controlling aggressive bull bars would be on a European basis, and welcome the commitment by the European Motor Industry to stop fitting rigid bull bars to new cars from this year.

We have also submitted a technical proposal to the Commission, based on the TRL work, setting out how after-market bull bars and bull bars fitted to larger vehicles could be dealt with through European legislation. We are pressing the Commission to take this forward.

The number of licensed vehicles fitted with bull bars is not officially recorded. However of the 23 million licensed vehicles on UK roads, we estimate that there are around 600,000 vehicles fitted with bull bars.

Andrew George

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions he has had with the EU on plans to introduce legislation and directives to make the front of vehicles safer; [68373]

(2) what plans he has to introduce legislation to make the fronts of vehicles safer. [68375]

Mr. Jamieson

Legislation covering the design of new cars is dealt with at a European level. We welcome the proposal by the European Commission for an agreement with the motor industry to design car fronts to reduce the injury to pedestrians in the event of an impact. We are now awaiting a further proposal from the Commission to provide a legislative framework for this agreement.