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Abnormal Loads

Volume 530: debated on Wednesday 21 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he is aware of the increasing number of abnormally bulky and slow-moving loads, such as ships' propellors, railway carriages and industrial plants which are transported by road, causing congestion and delay to other road users; and if he will consult with industry with a view to discouraging this traffic until the road system can be made adequate to carry it.

The number of abnormal indivisible loads has increased since the war. I regret the inconvenience which they can cause, but such traffic is usually of high national importance. The whole procedure for carrying heavy loads by road is now under review, and I am proposing to bring representatives of industry into consultation.

While appreciating what my right hon. Friend has said about this traffic being of national importance, may I ask whether it would not be possible for some of this traffic to go by sea, as it presumably did in the days before heavy road vehicles were used for this purpose?

Yes, Sir. I know that manufacturers are conscious of that fact. I am always ready to draw their attention to that means of transport, but I could not direct traffic to go by any one particular form of transport. I am, however, bringing representatives of industry into consultation on what, I recognise, is a considerable problem.

Is it not a fact that this problem is getting worse because the Minister, under the Transport Act, removed any equalisation of charges between coastwise shipping and road transport? Does he not agree that if only he would go back to the previous system this problem would become much less?

No, Sir. The problem is getting more difficult because of the growing industrial prosperity under this Government.