Clause 42

Road Safety Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 18 April 2006.

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Enforcement authorities

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Owen Paterson Owen Paterson Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Sir Nicholas, I am also pleased to see that you have obviously had a restful Easter and returned supercharged.

I shall not delay the Committee with debate on this clause, but I should just like some clarification. The clause seems sensible, but I should like the Minister to clarify who is in charge. What is the order of command between the DVLA, district councils, and county councils, which have now been brought in where there are two-tier authorities? The measure is sensible, but I am not clear about how it will work in practice. I would be grateful if the Minister could clarify the matter.

Photo of Stephen Ladyman Stephen Ladyman Minister of State, Department for Transport

I assure the hon. Gentleman that the DVLA will not replace the police and trading standards officers. The idea is that in future the DVLA will work with them as a joint enforcement team. As he suggests, it is a sensible measure. It removes a burden on the police; it will allow the DVLA to take enforcement action in its own right, rather than reporting matters to the police for them to take action on its behalf; and it will resolve an anomaly whereby trading standards officers possess the power of enforcement if they are employed by district councils, but do not if they are employed by county councils. In future, officers employed by county councils will possess the power, too. The intention is that all three—the police, the DVLA and trading standards officers—will work jointly.

Photo of Owen Paterson Owen Paterson Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Where there are two tiers—a county council and a district council—which will be the lead authority dealing with the DVLA?

Photo of Stephen Ladyman Stephen Ladyman Minister of State, Department for Transport

I shall have to write to the hon. Gentleman. My assumption is that it will be the senior tier, the county council, but I shall write to him to clarify that.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 42 ordered to stand part of the Bill.