Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill [HL] - Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 17th April 2018.

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Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Conservative 3:45 pm, 17th April 2018

My Lords, of course I support my noble friend the Minister’s amendment. On the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, the noble Lord was Roads Minister many years ago and I was the opposition Front Bench spokesman on transport. We had a lot of fun together and we made various improvements. The noble Lord will know that to engage in international goods vehicle operations, one needs an international goods vehicle operator’s licence—one can have an international licence or a national licence.

When the noble Lord was Minister, I would try to increase the standard required of all operators—not just international operators but national operators as well. Sometimes he took my suggestions—there was one issue on which we achieved an improvement—but, generally speaking, as happened with most Ministers, the Opposition’s suggestions would be turned down.

However, if we wanted to, we could raise the bar for having an international operator’s licence. The tests already include the need for good repute and financial standing. If an operator gets into trouble with their annual pass rate or the number of prohibitions they pick up on the roads, the traffic commissioner can remove their licence. However, the noble Lord is right: if you want to engage in international operations, you need to operate to a higher standard than national operations—because, let us face it, operators operating on the continent are representing the United Kingdom. So the noble Lord raises a good point, but it is already covered by the fact that, to engage in international operations, you need an international goods vehicle operator’s licence under the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act.