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Hazardous Chemicals

Volume 205: debated on Monday 9 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has concerning the number of incidents in which accidents have led to the leakage of hazardous chemicals when being transported by (a) roads and (b) railways; what were the respective volume of chemicals carried and distances travelled; and if he will make a statement.

Information on incidents is available in the recently published Health and Safety Commission advisory committee on dangerous substances report on major hazard aspects of the transport of dangerous substances, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice is given by his Department on the use of railways or roads for the movement of hazardous chemicals: and if he will make a statement.

Consignors of dangerous substances are free to choose the mode of transport most appropriate for their needs, provided that they comply with the relevant safety requirements. There is no evidence that one mode of transport is generally safer than another.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assistance is given by his Department to companies producing hazardous chemicals towards the cost of constructing and maintaining rail terminals to enable them more easily to move their products by rail.

Freight facilities grants are available under section 8 of the Raiways Act 1974 to assist with the capital cost of rail freight facilities where there is a significant benefit to the environment through the removal of lorries from sensitive roads. They are payable where, without grant, the commercial decision would be to use road transport and are available for any type of goods.