asked the Minister of Transport what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the transport of coal by lorry.
The Government's policy is to permit the transport of coal by lorry according to the desire of the user and the facilities available.
Does not the Minister agree that it is far more suitable that coal should be carried by rail? Does he think that the small marginal gain in road costs to industrial undertakings should outweigh the grave nuisance caused to the public by coal lorries in many places such as Derby?
Most of the coal is taken by rail, of course, and it is a traffic suitable to rail. In those cases where industrialists choose to send it by road it is obviously because the balance of advantage lies in taking it by road.
Should not the public loss in the discharge of diesel fumes and accidents and other things be a grave factor on the other side?
It is very difficult to assess all those things.
In his assessment of the carriage of coal, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that coastal shipping is also available, and will he take care not to eliminate coastal shipping in this matter?
I do not think that Derby has a great deal of coastal shipping.