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Volume 886: debated on Thursday 13 February 1975

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asked the Minister of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food if any accidents have been notified to his Department in the last five years in respect of special horticultural tractors which it is considered would have been avoided if the tractor in question had been fitted with a cab.

The main reason for fitting safety cabs to tractors is to minimise the risk of death or serious injury when tractors are involved in accidents. In 1970–74 there were 108 fatal accidents involving tractors not fitted with safety cabs. Information about the types of tractor involved is not immediately available, but I am having the accident reports examined to see if any cases involving special horticultural tractors can be separately identified and will write to the hon. Member. Our figures for non-fatal accidents derive from data furnished by the Department of Health and Social Security and relate to injuries to workers involving an absence from work of more than three days, but not to technical details of the circumstances of the accident.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will harmonise tractor cab regulations as applied to horticultural tractors with other EEC countries so that British horticulturists do not suffer any unfair competition.

The EEC Commission has a continuing responsibility to work for free and fair competition within the Community. The Commission has recently submitted to the Council a draft directive to harmonise certain aspects of tractor cab legislation within the Community as applied to specified categories of tractor. Special tractor types such as vineyard tractors and some designed for horticultural use are excluded for the present, but the Commission has said it expects to extend the scope of the draft directive in due course.