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Written Answers

Volume 416: debated on Thursday 29 January 1981

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Written Answers

Mr Stephen Thompson

Whether they will reconsider the detention of Stephen Thompson in Rampton mental hospital on the orders of the Home Secretary in view of the diagnosis of the medical consultant that there are no grounds for his being there.

Mr. Stephen Thompson was transferred from Gartree Prison to Rampton Hospital on 12th December 1980 on directions made under Sections 72 and 74 of the Mental Health Act 1959. The effect of the direction under Section 74 is that Mr. Thompson is currently subject to the restrictions contained in Sections 65 of the Act and may not be discharged or transferred to another hospital without the consent of the Home Secretary. My right honourable friend will naturally give very careful attention to any recommendation he receives from Mr. Thompson's responsible medical officer, but he has not yet received one.

Motorway Speed Restrictions

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will issue guidance to police forces not to signal unnecessarily low speed limits on motorways.

No. The operational responsibility for imposing speed restrictions on motorways in the interests of road safety rests with individual chief officers of police, having regard to prevailing weather and traffic conditions.

Motorways And Tree Planting

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will make it their policy to plant suitable trees on every barren acre of motorway interchange and verge, for the purposes of ornament, timber, and protection from wind.

It is our policy to carry out extensive tree planting insofar as this is consistent with the natural landscape pattern through which the motorway is passing, and provided that it does not restrict the visibility for drivers, particularly at interchanges. The relatively small areas of land available, poor soil conditions and difficulties of access to the sites, makes timber farming an uneconomic proposition. On those lengths of motorway where some wind protection may be desirable, it is seldom possible to plant wind breaks within the limits of the land acquired for the motorway without the danger of causing drifts in snowy conditions.

Motor Vehicles: Lamp Regulations

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether there is any regulation to control the brightness of auxiliary rear lights on motor vehicles.

Every stop lamp, whether obligatory or additional, fitted to a vehicle first used after 1st January 1971 must comply with specified maximum and minimum brightness limits. So must every rear fog lamp fitted to a vehicle first used after 1st April 1980 and manufactured on or after 1st October 1979. The use of rear fog lamps on any vehicle is permitted only in conditions of poor visibility.House adjourned at twenty-two minutes before nine o'clock.