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Trailers (Height)

Volume 540: debated on Thursday 23 February 2012

I recognise that this is an important issue for UK hauliers, and I am pressing for a solution that protects our national interests. I raised my concerns with European Commission officials at the second Asia-Europe meeting of Transport Ministers in China in October. We are engaging fully with the European Commission on this issue, which concerns our hauliers greatly.

The haulage industry is important to the country as a whole and to my constituency in particular. It has worked hard to maximise efficiency by making use of all the space in larger, streamlined containers. Lloyd Fraser Group in my constituency, which distributes Mr Kipling cakes among other things, is anxious to ensure that the negotiations allow it to remain competitive. Will the Minister give that reassurance?

I wonder whether I need to declare an interest in Mr Kipling’s cakes. We must utilise our roads in the best possible way. If lorries are under the weight limit, 4 metre-plus trailers are of significant importance. This issue has been raised by the Austrians. I do not see why it should affect British hauliers in the UK.

This is a serious question. It is not just about the height of the vehicles, but about their cabs. These vehicles are killing pedestrians and cyclists in our towns and countryside. The industry knows that cabs should be changed either on the continent or on this side of the channel. These vehicles are killing our people and the design should change.

The hon. Gentleman raises an enormously important issue. However, the question was about the height of trailers. I accept that there are other issues and I am more than happy to meet cycling representatives and the industry, as I do on a regular basis. He raises a serious issue, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the height of trailers.