Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill [HL] - Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 17th April 2018.

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Photo of Lord Whitty Lord Whitty Chair, EU Internal Market Sub-Committee 4:45 pm, 17th April 2018

My Lords, this group of amendments deals with the situation for the trailer market. It is clear that the provisions in the back half of the Bill, which deals with trailers, are important and welcome. As the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, said, at one point I had to be quite familiar with all this, but, thankfully in some ways, I have lost touch with parts of the industry in the interim. Nevertheless, it has been represented to me that the trailer market and the use of trailers is actually quite a complex subject—although a more pejorative word is sometimes used. For example, trailers are shared, hired out, or picked up by a driver for one operator and delivered to another, used for part of the journey and then used by another operator. What I am querying in the text is that the reference to the operator or keeper does not seem to include the part of the trailer market that is effectively hiring out. They are either hiring out for money or hiring out in kind by swapping one trailer for another or for a whole range of different services for trailers. It is a complicated area but it is important that those who hire out vehicles have the same obligations on registration, safety and the offences created by the Bill as do operators who always use their own trailers or operate on simpler, less complicated arrangements.

This is a significant part of the market without which the whole system would not operate, or at least it would be hugely more costly and inconvenient to operate without it. Therefore, those who hire out trailers, on whatever terms, are an important part of the efficiency of the sector. But they, likewise, have responsibilities. The Bill should reflect that they have the same responsibilities for registration and related matters as other operators within the sector. I beg to move.