Tom Normanton raises weight and TIR issues
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• Concerned at the effect on British international hauliers of Mr John Peyton's decision not to increase the 32-ton-gross maximum weight limit, the Conservative Member for Cheadle, Mr Tom Normanton, has this week tabled questions in the Commons.
Two questions are down for answering on March 31 by the Secretary of State for the Environment. The first asks what action the Minister proposes to take when the first French international transport heavy vehicle, normally operating at gross vehicle weights of 38 tons or over, is refused entry into Britain under regulations issued by him on December 16, 1970. The second question asks what representations have been received from international TIR transport operators following the announcement on December 16 that gross vehicle weights would be limited to 32 tons.
Mr Normanton is understood to have received many representations on this issue; he believes that the 32-ton limit should be raised but he is also concerned that arbitrary action in turning away incoming foreign vehicles weighing more than 32 tons could prejudice negotiations over international permits, particularly with the French.
On several occasions already this year the Member for Cheadle has put down questions about the number of heavy goods vehicles engaged in TIR traffic; he is anxious to establish the size and importance of this interna tional road transport operation, as one measure of the economic penalty which is being paid for maintaining the 32-ton limit on largely environmental grounds.
This week Mr Normanton asked the Minister whether he had made an assessment Of the effect upon transport costs of vehicles. The Minister replied that the 32 ton limit should have no effects on transport costs as his decision did, in fact, continue existing weight limits, Mr Normanton asked the Minister on Wednesday what steps he was taking to ensure that if Britain joined the EEC our road transport regulations would coincide with those in force, or planned, in the Community. He was told that measures in force in the Community were taken into account when regulations were being considered here.
Stricter foreign lorry checks
• Stricter checks on foreign lorries entering this country were foreshadowed in the Commons this week by Mr Peyton.
After Mr David Clark (Labour, Colne Valley) had spoken of reports about increasing numbers of excessively long and heavy foreign lorries entering Britain, Mr Peyton said he was not satisfied that checks were adequate.
"I am considering whether I will have to come to the House for further powers," he said.