Transport: Emergencies

Department for Transport written question – answered on 9th March 2020.

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Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what powers he has to (a) suspend and (b) amend transport services in the event of a public health emergency.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Secretary of State may make Regulations under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, to take measures to prevent the spread of disease or threats to public health arising from the arrival or departure of any “vessel, aircraft, train or other conveyance”. This regulation making power is sufficiently broad so as to suspend or amend transport services in the event that they pose a sufficient threat to public health or the spread of disease. Any powers relating to international travel would need to be exercised in accordance with the United Kingdom’s international obligations. The powers apply to England and Wales and the Secretary of State may make regulations which apply to England. Welsh Government Ministers may choose to make regulations applicable to Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own legislative provisions.

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