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Lord Bradshaw: My Lords, I hope the Minister may have some good news for us, but, like the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, I have heard the terms "shortly", "early in the new year" and "later in the year" so often that I wonder whether those in the Department for Transport have a calendar or clock, or whether time, for them, is measured in seasons.

On 7 November, three people were killed on the southbound hard shoulder of the M1, when their car drove into the back of a lorry. The head injuries were quite dreadful. That is exactly the sort of accident we could stop. The means of stopping it are easy to envisage and to find, and it could be done very simply. I fully support what the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, has said and I await the Minister's response.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Hanningfield for moving his amendment again. In respect of the word "shortly", I was advised that the special types general order would be coming shortly, and that meant 10 years.

I am convinced about the effectiveness of the materials, but I have two concerns. First, I am not convinced that a competitive market exists for this material. Perhaps the Minister has done some work on this and can tell us whether he believes there is a competitive market for it.

Secondly, I believe that older vehicles are slightly more prone to involvement in side impact accidents, which are very serious. So if we go down this route, the material ought to be applied to all vehicles after a period of, say, four years, rather than just new vehicles. Heavy goods vehicle trailers, for example, can have quite long lives of 10 or 15 years. If it is a good idea, the material should be applied to all heavy goods vehicles after a few years.

Lord Berkeley: My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, is correct that it should be applied to all vehicles, but I get the impression that in this case perfection may be the enemy of the good, and it would be better to start with the amendment. This is a no-brainer. Of course the Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association will oppose it. They would, wouldn't they? In the same way, the road safety organisations will support it. We need to think about the effect and the cost.

How long are we going to wait and how many more people are going to be killed in the way illustrated by the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, before we get on and do this? Apparently, the powers exist. Let us get on and do it. I cannot understand how we can oppose this in
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a European forum. I hope that the Minister has brought the good news that we are going to go ahead tomorrow.

Viscount Simon: My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, asked whether there is a competitive market for these fittings. If they benefit road safety and reduce the number of people killed and injured on the road, that is totally irrelevant. It is the lives of the people who might be injured that one has to take into account.

The noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, drew attention to a fatal crash on the M1, where a car went into the back of an HGV. That could have been a car going into the back of a car, which would have resulted in exactly the same thing; that is, people being killed. Why is this regulation not being applied to all vehicles? I refer to the amendment in Committee. I still think that it should be applied to all vehicles. I give the example of going round a corner and meeting side on a vehicle that has crashed into it. You would not see it in darkness or you might not have sufficient time to brake. You might crash; you might kill yourself. The regulation should be applied to all vehicles.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, a competitive market is important because one manufacturer is advising us to go down this route. We were caught out in the past with spray suppression equipment for heavy goods vehicles. One manufacturer managed to get Parliament to agree to fit spray suppression equipment. It was quite expensive; the whole fleet was fitted with it; and we subsequently realised that we did not need it. So it is an important point.

Viscount Simon: My Lords, you can already see vehicles which have been fitted with reflective tape on the roads now. You can see that it works.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am glad that noble Lords expect me to be the harbinger of good news. I am always a harbinger of good news because I bring the Government's view on these complex issues. I begin by apologising for the absence of the noble Baroness, Lady Crawley, who replied to this debate on the previous occasion. She is unfortunately ill with food poisoning, so noble Lords will have to put up with my answer today.

As we indicated then, this amendment is unnecessary because powers to regulate the use of the material in question already exist. The issue with which we are faced is that Europe is concerned to provide a whole series of regulations for all types of heavy goods vehicles. Compliance with these regulations will become mandatory in the UK through the forthcoming introduction of a European system of,

This approval system, which will provide a regulatory framework against which vehicles can be assessed, is being developed by the European Commission and member states.
22 Nov 2005 : Column 1531

As I have indicated, UK regulations already permit the use of ECE 104 tape. If we began work now to change UK regulations to mandate the tape, there would be only a short period before the introduction of the amended regulations and that of the European approval system. We do not consider the cost and time that would be needed to make these changes separately to be justified, given the small benefit which would be achieved by a slightly earlier introduction. I am not underestimating the importance of the concept for road safety, but we are talking about a very limited period between our capacity to introduce the limited powers that we have and the whole vehicle position which the European Union is developing.

The introduction date for that has still to be agreed, but it will be mandatory for all new goods vehicles and their trailers. Therefore, the House will recognise that we do not see that we would derive benefit from acting on powers which already exist in legislation. But in any case the amendment is unnecessary, because we enjoy those powers at present. I hope that the noble Lord will recognise the strength of that argument.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, does the Minister agree that his argument would have more force if he told us when the new regulations would come into force?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the answer is, "not just yet". But let me just make the obvious point—nor would any regulations that we proposed within our own powers. All that I am indicating is that the gap is marginal between achieving what we could create, operating unilaterally, and complying as we shall be obliged to with the European requirements. That is the why I am resisting the amendment.

Lord Hanningfield: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. We have had an interesting debate. This is a road safety Bill, and we on these Benches are interested in implementing as soon as possible real measures that save lives. Some things that we have discussed might help—but then there are others that have been proven to save lives, and this is one of them. All the evidence, as the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, said, such as accidents on the M1, suggests that these strips could save lives—and we can all cite incidents of that kind. The Minister referred to a whole tranche of European regulations; there may be some that we decide not to implement or that we delay implementation on over time. In this amendment, I am proposing 2007. That still gives two years for the industry to prepare, and it is a date that would be effective. If the European legislation arrives too fast, it would give us time to tie in with that European legislation. I should like to test the opinion of the House on whether we should introduce these tapes in 2007.

4.46 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 14) shall be agreed to?
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Their Lordships divided: Contents, 163; Not-Contents, 146.

Division No. 3


Addington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Bowness, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Byford, B.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carrington, L.
Chorley, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cox, B.
Craigavon, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
De Mauley, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Dykes, L.
Eccles, V.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Fearn, L.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fookes, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Garden, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodlad, L.
Goschen, V.
Greaves, L.
Hanham, B. [Teller]
Hannay of Chiswick, L.
Hanningfield, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Hooper, B.
Howard of Rising, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Hylton, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Jopling, L.
Kalms, L.
Kimball, L.
Kirkham, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lindsay, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Lyell of Markyate, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mawhinney, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Naseby, L.
Neuberger, B.
Newby, L.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Palmer, L.
Palumbo, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Parkinson, L.
Patten, L.
Peel, E.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plumb, L.
Ramsbotham, L.
Razzall, L.
Rees, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogan, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B. [Teller]
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shrewsbury, E.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Steinberg, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Tenby, V.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tonge, B.
Tordoff, L.
Trenchard, V.
Tugendhat, L.
Tyler, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vallance of Tummel, L.
Vinson, L.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Weatherill, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.


Adams of Craigielea, B.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Amos, B. [Lord President of the Council.]
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. [Teller]
Bhatia, L.
Bhattacharyya, L.
Billingham, B.
Bilston, L.
Blackstone, B.
Boothroyd, B.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Calton, B.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cobbold, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Drayson, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Gregson, L.
Griffiths of Burry Port, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Haskins, L.
Haworth, L.
Hayman, B.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jones, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
McDonagh, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mar, C.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Mitchell, L.
Moonie, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Morris of Yardley, B.
Murphy, B.
Nicol, B.
Parekh, L.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sheldon, L.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Soley, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

22 Nov 2005 : Column 1534

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