Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Earl Attlee moved Amendment No. 329C:


(" . In Part I of Schedule 6 to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, in column 3(a) of the Table, for "70" and "60" there is substituted "62".").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, the effect of the amendment is to reduce the maximum legal speed limit for a bus or a coach to 62 miles per hour. The amendment concerns bus and coach speed limits and tyre technology. Buses used on urban work can use heavy duty tyres which are resistant to being damaged by kerbing and general wear and tear. More important, they have about a 20 per cent longer service life. Unfortunately, they cannot be used above about 60 miles per hour. There is a way of avoiding that restriction by registering the vehicles as local service buses but those buses are limited to 50 miles per hour and there are other restrictions on their use.

As a result of those restrictions, only about half of the buses which could use those longer life tyres do so. Although the maximum legal speed limit for buses or coaches is 70 miles per hour on a motorway, in fact they can only go at 100 kilometres or 62 miles per hour.

EU directives require the fitting of a speed limiter unless the maximum geared speed of the vehicle is less than 100 kilometres. There are some preserved buses and coaches which do not need to be so limited but it is questionable whether they should be going so fast.

2 Nov 2000 : Column 1189

If this amendment were agreed to, there would be no effect on bus or coach speeds because the vehicles cannot exceed 62 miles per hour in any event. But it would be legally possible to fit the more robust and economical tyres. The savings would be in the order of £2.5 million per annum to the bus industry. I shall not weary your Lordships with the calculations by the tyre industry but I have sent them to the Minister.

I do not believe that there is any difficulty with the drafting of my amendment but it requires primary legislation and it seems that this is a good opportunity for that. I shall understand if the Minister would like to consider the matter further before declaring his position on the amendment but I intend to bring it back at a later stage. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl for explaining to me at some hour last night what this amendment was really about. Since the word "tyre" does not appear in the amendment up until that point it was totally obscure to me. But it does relate to the interaction between the speed limiter at European level of 100 kilometres per hour, which is 62 miles per hour.

Although the noble Earl suggested that only coaches are limited in that way, that is not the case, because a simple reduction in the speed limit, which the amendment proposes, would affect quite a significant number of coaches permitted to run faster than 60 per miles per hour at the lighter end of the coach market which are not subject to the controls of the speed limiter.

The requirements which specify the speed capacity of tyres are contained within secondary legislation, as I understand it. So it is not necessary to bring forward an amendment in primary legislation.

Nevertheless, I am intrigued by the noble Earl's suggestion and the possible savings to the coach industry to which it may lead. I shall need to consider further the statistic that he has sent to me, but I do not believe that the matter requires primary legislation. I shall look at the possibility of making changes in the appropriate secondary legislation. I thank the noble Earl.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that response to my amendment. I doubt we shall see it again. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Earl Attlee moved Amendment No. 329D:

    After Clause 258, insert the following new clause--

Driver employment and training in road haulage industry: publication of annual report

(" .--(1) The Secretary of State shall undertake an annual investigation of the road haulage industry to establish industry's needs with regard to the employment and training of commercial vehicle drivers.
(2) The Secretary of State shall publish his conclusions in a report laid before Parliament 12 months after this Act comes into force and annually thereafter.

2 Nov 2000 : Column 1190

(3) The report shall cover--
(a) causes of road haulage industry accidents;
(b) backlog of vocational driving tests;
(c) training needs in the use of information technology;
(d) shortages of suitable driving and related transport instructors; and
(e) shortages and quality examiners.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, the road haulage industry in the United Kingdom is suffering severely from a lack of HGV drivers. In Committee I moved an amendment in relation to this matter. Can the Minister say whether he has any more plans to increase the availability of HGV drivers for the haulage industry? I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I am not sure that seeking an answer to that question required an amendment of this nature! The Road Haulage Forum, in addressing the requirements to modernise the road haulage industry, has, among other things, undertaken to look at the skills requirements in the industry, in particular driver skills. There appears to be a shortage of drivers, not because of a lack of people who have qualified at some time in their lives to be HGV drivers, but because of the terms and conditions under which they work. There is also quite an elderly age profile of active HGV drivers in the industry and not enough younger trainees coming through.

The Road Haulage and Distribution Training Council and the Driving Standards Agency are co-operating in looking at that and at the development of national occupational standards to promote a more professionally oriented lifetime-learning qualification in improvement of skills within the industry. All those things will be considered by a sub-committee of the Road Haulage Forum. They are important in addressing some of the problems in the industry to which my noble friend Lord Macdonald referred in answer to the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, earlier.

However, that has nothing much to do with this legislation, but I thought I owed the noble Earl an answer as he has been so co-operative in helping to take us towards the end of Report stage of this Bill before half-past seven.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I have no idea what the noble Lord is talking about! I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 30 [Repeals and revocations]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 330 to 337:

    Page 331, line 6, at end insert--

    ("1996 c. ix.London Local Authorities Act 1996.Part II.")

    Page 331, column 3, leave out lines 7 to 9.

    Page 331, line 26, at end insert--

    ("2000 c. vii.London Local Authorities Act 2000.Section 48. Schedule 2.")

2 Nov 2000 : Column 1191

    Page 332, leave out lines 17 to 19.

    Page 336, line 11, column 3, after ("Board") insert ("or any subsidiary of theirs"").

    Page 338, column 3, leave out line 49 and insert--

    ("In section 43, subsection (11) and, in subsection (12), the words following paragraph (d).")

    Page 343, line 43, at end insert--

("(1) Driver training and driving instructors

ChapterShort titleExtent of repeal
1988 c. 52.Road Traffic Act 1988.Section 89(2A) and (5A). In section 97-- in subsection (3), paragraph (e) and the word "and" before it, and subsections (3A) and (3B). In section 98(3), paragraph (c) and the word "or" before it. In section 108(1), the definitions of "approved training course for motor cyclists" and "prescribed certificate of completion". In section 130-- in subsection (3), the words "under this section", and in subsection (5), the words "granted under this section". Section 131(5). Schedule 3.
1989 c. 22.Road Traffic (Driver Licensing and Information Systems) Act 1989.Section 6. In Schedule 3-- in paragraph 11(c), sub-paragraph (ii) and the word "and" before it, in paragraph 15, sub-paragraph (g) and the word "and" before it, and in paragraph 18, sub-paragraphs (b) and (d).
(2) Other provisions").

    Page 344, line 16, at end insert--

    ("1991 c. 22.New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.In section 74(4), the words "if he does so".")

On Question, amendments agreed to.

2 Nov 2000 : Column 1192

Clause 266 [Extent]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 338 and 339:

    Page 166, line 29, after ("sections") insert ("(Charges for whole duration of works) and (Charges where works unreasonably prolonged),").

    Page 166, line 29, after ("256") insert (", (London service permits: appeals)").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page