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Volume 33: debated on Monday 6 December 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set up a review of the safety implications of passengers smoking on public transport, including underground railways.

A review would be unlikely to add significantly to present knowledge. There is no evidence that smoking in public transport vehicles poses any serious safety hazards. This is mainly because such vehicles, whether road or rail, are designed to minimise the risk of fire; materials used in their construction, for example, are either non-flammable or are treated to improve their fire resistance. However, discarded cigarette ends can cause fires outside the vehicles and in the case of underground railways the consequences might be serious.It is for this reason that the inspector who investigated the underground fire at Goodge Street last year recommended a ban on smoking in London Transport trains as the first step towards a total ban on smoking below ground. Whether this recommendation is accepted is a matter for London Transport.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the statement of the Under-Secretary of State, Official Report, 25 November, c. 1098, if he will publish any technical evidence he has that individual 38-tonne heavy lorries will be no more damaging than the individual 32·5-tonne heavy lorries presently permitted.

The technical evidence on the damaging effects of different types of heavy vehicle was examined by the Armitage inquiry, and is summarised in paragraphs 376 to 383 of its report.Tables 36 and 40 give examples of existing 4 axle 32·5 tonne vehicles and 5 axle 38 tonne vehicles such as will be permitted in the United Kingdom from 1 May 1983. Damage from each individual vehicle, measured in standard axles, is from 2·1 to 2·2 for existing 32·5 tonne vehicles and from 2·0 to 2·1 for the most damaging configuration of 5 axle 38 tonne vehicles.