Fuel Blockade

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:08 pm on 28th September 2000.

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Photo of Lord Macdonald of Tradeston Lord Macdonald of Tradeston Minister of State, Department for Transport, Minister of State (Transport), Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions) 4:08 pm, 28th September 2000

My Lords, I endorse the comments of the noble Lord regarding the encouragement of alternative fuels. As he will know, in the budget we put more money into the Powershift Programme. There were many enlightening examples of the use of alternative fuels during the recent problems.

I welcome the emphasis placed by the noble Lord on what is a current DETR advertising campaign--that is, what can be gained from more intelligent and economical driving--and his emphasis on better insulation. The channels of communication may at times not have been up to the mark. That is a matter which will be addressed by the task force, along with the question of what stocks might be held and where they would best be held.

As regards obstruction of the highway, the highway authorities can sue for obstruction. There are also traffic commissioners who keep their eye on various offences and try to ensure that licensed hauliers are people of good repute. The Highways Act 1980 makes it an arrestable offence wilfully to obstruct the free passage of traffic. But through the task force the police will no doubt be advising us as to whether they feel the need for further powers.