Transport Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:45 pm on 9th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour 7:45 pm, 9th November 2000

My Lords, I am very grateful to my noble friend for that explanation. I do not accept some of his comments. It certainly is not targeting the good and responsible hauliers or the experienced drivers. I suspect that those who are overweight will at some stage have to go into one of these big facilities, because that is the way life goes. It does not actually stop anybody doing spot checks on the motorway but the problem is: will they get done?

I was a little hurt by the comment of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, about "lorry bashing". If I am bashing lorries, they are illegal lorries. I wanted to make it clear that they are unfair on the competition and this also has a serious road safety implication, as the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, said. I have no problem with that: I am pleased to continue to do it. However, regarding the large number of responsible lorries and experienced drivers, we have all encouraged them and must continue to do it. That was something mentioned yesterday by my right honourable friend the Chancellor as something which should contribute significantly to that aspect.

I think we have debated this quite enough. It is tempting to talk about dividing the House, but it will not do any good. I shall read with great interest what my noble friend has said, because this is something we should take forward and keep pressing the Road Haulage Forum and the Government to achieve the end result that more lorries will be checked, particularly those suspected of being overweight, so that they may be brought to justice. One good way of doing that would be for those who do the checking to have hypothecation of the charges and not to suffer from Treasury-imposed cutbacks. In the light of these remarks I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.