asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make the offence of failing to prevent emission of avoidable smoke a separate main classification in the Annual Return of Offences Relating to Motor Vehicles, thus providing information, which is not at present available, regarding the results of prosecutions and the extent to which the various police forces in England and Wales are active in enforcement.
The Annual Return for 1960 for the first time gave separate figures of the number of offences under this head in England and Wales dealt with by prosecution or by written warning. My right hon. Friend is not at present convinced that there are sufficient grounds for publishing in the Return the further detailed information asked for by my hon. Friend.
Would not my right hon. Friend agree that this is a source of a very large number—a growing number—of road accidents, and that it is awfully difficult to support the police powers, which they have already, to prosecute for marginal offences in this category without some reliable statistical guidance as to the number of offences which are actually taking place annually? Will he again consult with his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport to see if some improvement in the administrative machinery is possible?
My hon. Friend, who is a zealous watchdog of public expenditure, will surely not press me to incur unjustifiable expense. The present figures already show the extent of police activity in enforcing this Regulation. I would have thought that the information now given is enough in substance for my hon. Friend and others to judge the situation.