HC Deb 04 October 1939 vol 351 cc1933-4
27. Mr. E. Smith

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will consider the exclusion of the weight of a producer gas plant in calculating the unladen weight of a vehicle propelled by producer gas for the purposes of road taxation and speed limit categories, following the analogy of the exclusion of the weight of batteries for such purposes in the case of electrically-propelled vehicles?

Captain Wallace

Vehicles propelled by producer gas have the advantage of using a tax-free fuel, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is unable to agree to any further concession. Maximum speed is affected only in those cases where the unladen weight of a vehicle without the plant is just under 2½ tons. Theuse of producer gas vehicles has so far been mainly experimental. If they become more common under war conditions, I shall be ready to give consideration to any difficulties that may arise out of the present speed-limit categories.

Mr. Loftus

Is it not a fact that thousands of these vehicles are in use in Germany and France, due to direct Government encouragement in order to save the importation of petrol?

Captain Wallace

I will take it from my hon. Friend that it is so, but I was not myself aware of it.

28. Mr. E. Smith

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will consider the relaxation of the present regulation with regard to the use of trailers if used for carrying gas producer plants in the case of vehicles propelled by producer gas, having regard to the practice in the last war and to the recommendations contained in the report of the inter-departmental committee on the employment of gas as a source of power?

Captain Wallace

Yes, Sir. I am aware that certain operators of public service vehicles are anxious to conduct experiments with vehicles equipped with producer gas plant. In some cases it is proposed to mount the apparatus on a trailer, and after consultation with my hon. Friend the Secretary for Mines, I have made an Order enabling public service vehicles to draw a trailer equipped for this purpose. There is nothing in the regulations which prevents a goods vehicle from drawing a trailer.