Oral Answers to Questions — Flowers (Rail Transport Prohibition)

– in the House of Commons on 9th September 1942.

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Photo of Mr Nevil Beechman Mr Nevil Beechman , St Ives

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether, in view of the numerous cases of hardship which will be entailed by the total prohibition of the transport of flowers by rail, he will give an assurance that the prohibition will be reconsidered as soon as war conditions permit?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

I greatly regret that the present transport position has made it necessary to prohibit the transport of flowers by rail. I am glad to assure my hon. Friend that the prohibition will be withdrawn as soon as the need for it is over, but I must warn him that that is unlikely to happen before hostilities have ceased.

Photo of Mr Nevil Beechman Mr Nevil Beechman , St Ives

While thanking my hon. Friend for his reply, might I ask whether he will bear in mind in any review—which, in spite of what he said, I hope may come soon—that a small increase of flower traffic from those districts where very early flowers are grown will help to mitigate the numerous cases of hardship which this order entails?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

We would do anything we could to mitigate hardship; but flowers travel largely by train, and require special care in handling, and I cannot hold out any hope of alternative transport by road being provided.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

When it is possible to send these flowers by passenger trains, would that not be permissible?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

The difficulty is that passenger trains are very heavily loaded. Although flowers do not add greatly to the weight, they take up space in the coaches, and we cannot add more coaches to the trains.