Clause 56

Part of Local Transport Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 6 May 2008.

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Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (Yorkshire and the Humber), Minister of State (Department for Transport) 5:45, 6 May 2008

As Conservative Members have said, the clause will require traffic commissioners to keep records of community transport permits granted by them and copies of permits submitted to them by designated bodies. It is important that we have a better record than we do at the moment of what community transport services operate. The existing legislation does not place an obligation on the traffic commissioners to keep records of permits, although we understand that records are held by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency on their behalf. As I said, we believed that it was important to improve our record keeping of community transport operators and that it was right to impose a requirement on traffic commissioners similar to that on designated bodies.

As for how long the data would need to be kept, obviously it would need to be retained while the permit was in force. Other provisions in the Bill will introduce time-limited permits. One of the issues that has come up is that some permits were given out that had perhaps expired a long time before. For the community transport sector as a whole, it is important to have not  only good records, but up-to-date records and to know exactly what is in operation at a particular time. Some difficulties had arisen previously where permits had been given out, the service had completely stopped operating, but nobody had any idea about it. As to who will be able to see the records, I shall have to write to the hon. Member for Wimbledon about that. I cannot see that there would be any problem with there being a public record of what permits were available. However, I would like to take the opportunity to check that and ensure that in any consultation we have done with the community transport world we have explored the options, so I shall come back to the Committee on that.