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Lorry Weights

Volume 22: debated on Friday 30 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport which organisations have made representations to him in favour of increased weights of heavy goods vehicles.

Many trade associations, individual companies and professional transport institutions, together with some local authorities, national bodies such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, and individual members of the public, have made representations to us in favour of increased weights for heavy goods vehicles.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether consultations have been held between his Department and Kent county council regarding the detection and prosecution of overloaded heavy goods vehicles.

The only information available on the granting of bail in sheriff courts during the operation of the Bail etc. (Scotland) Act 1980 is that collected in the monitoring exercise conducted in 11 sheriff courts covering approximately 45 per cent. of persons proceeded against in sheriff courts during the first year of operation of the Act. Figures for this period are set out in the following table:

It is my Department's general policy to cooperate fully with all the other agencies concerned in order to secure effective enforcement of lorry weights. Consultation takes place with Kent county council on roadside check programmes, records of convictions for overloading and selection of new weighbridge sites. My Department is currently examining a number of ways of improving liaison between enforcement agencies.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many letters have been received by his Department concerning any proposed increase in lorry weights.

Since publication of our White Paper last December, about 550 letters have been received directly by my Department concerning our proposals. A similar number have been forwarded by Members of Parliament.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from the Association of Municipal Authorities regarding proposed increases in lorry weights; whether he will publish details of any reply; and if he will make a statement.

The Association of Metropolitan Authorities has written to my right hon. Friend, making a number of detailed comments on our White Paper proposals. These are being taken into account, together with other representations received, in developing our final package of measures on heavy lorries. My right hon. Friend has no objections if the AMA wishes to publish the reply that he has sent them.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any plans for a consultative exercise to ascertain the view of the general public toward any increase in the weight of heavy goods vehicles.

The Armitage inquiry into "Lorries, People and the Environment" took evidence very widely. Many people and organisations subsequently expressed their views on the report and there have been two debates on it in the House of Commons. Our White Paper proposals, which build on the Armitage recommendations, have also been debated in the House and have been the subject of further numerous representations from members of the general public as well as firms and other interested organisations. There has therefore already been an extensive consultation exercise.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans any further legislation concerning the overloading of heavy goods vehicles.

No. The existing legislation gives adequate powers to the enforcement authorities.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether investigations have been carried out by his Department into the effect on bridges of any increase in the weight of heavy goods vehicles; and if he will make a statement.

Yes. The results of the investigations are reported at paragraph 32 of the recent White Paper "Lorries, People and the Environment" Cmnd. 8439 and at paragraphs 20–23 of the Department's technical note "The Effects of Increasing Lorry Weights".