asked the Secretary of State for Transport which existing construction and United Kingdom regulations apply to community transport vehicles used for conveying wheelchair-bound passengers; if he intends to introduce fresh regulations applying only to new vehicles of this type; and if he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 1 April 1987, c. 525]: The department has now completed a revised version of the code (which was first published in 1982) in consultation with manufacturers and other interested organisations. It will be printed shortly.The purpose of the code is to give detailed guidance on safe practice for the boarding, securing and carrying of wheelchairs and wheelchair bound passengers in minibuses and buses. We shall be encouraging voluntary groups and other operators to make the greatest possible use of the code in planning their purchase, hire or adaptation of vehicles. We have chosen to issue guidance rather than making new regulations, because of the need to avoid inhibiting innovation in an area in which new equipment is being developed and because many serviceable older vehicles cannot economically be improved to meet all the detailed provisions. The code will be available for the mobility roadshow on 12 June at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory where many of the latest vehicles and equipment for carrying people in wheelchairs will be on display.