LETTER :The other side of touring cravans

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From Mr Paul Surridge

Sir: John Lyttle's open letter "Dear Caravanners" (24 July) presented a one-sided picture of touring caravans.

The National Caravan Council (NCC), the representative body of the caravan industry, is most disturbed that the heading to Mr Lyttle's article included the words "death trap"; the safety record of caravans shows quite clearly that caravans cannot by any means be described as dangerous. The excellent safety record of caravans is supported by the Department of Transport Road Accidents Great Britain 1991 casualty report, which states that less than 0.25 per cent of road accidents involved touring caravans.

With reference to Mr Lyttle's comments on loading, the NCC with the users clubs, the Caravan Writers Guild and the Department of Transport, have been instrumental in raising the awareness of caravanners to the need for ensuring their caravans are safe and correctly loaded. This has been achieved by publication of the Towing Code, which is reproduced in all touring caravan owners' handbooks supplied by NCC members. This code recommends that the actual laden weight of the caravan should not exceed 85 per cent of the kerb weight of the towing vehicle, and for experienced caravanners, the caravan should never exceed the kerb weight of the towing vehicle.

The design of British caravans is admired throughout Europe, so much so that the caravan industry is the source of millions of pounds of income to this country from exports. For example, in 1994 alone an estimated pounds 100million worth of caravans were exported.

There are over 500,000 touring caravans in use in the UK, giving pleasure to millions of people.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Surridge

Director General

National Caravan Council

Aldershot,

Hampshire

28 July

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