Supplementary memorandum by the Department
for Transport (MMS 42D)
MULTI MODAL STUDY INQUIRYREQUESTS
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
This letter provides further information following
the Secretary of State's appearance before the Transport Committee
on 15 January 2003.
1. In response to a request from Mr Stringer
(Q654), I attach a note on the Department's current vehicle excise
duty enforcement initiatives (Annex A).
2. The Secretary of State also agreed to
provide the Committee with details of the revenue support that
the Government provides local authorities (Q 659). Total revenue
grant to be distributed to English Local Authorities in 2003-04
amounts to £43.9 billion. In addition to the block funding
allocated by formula, further revenue support is provided to local
authorities for transport in the form of fuel duty rebate, urban
and rural bus grant and other small revenue measures.
3. In addition you sent two requests via
e-mail to the Department. The first requested results from the
new model in the format of Figure 13, page 27 of the Background
Analysis to the 10-Year Plan. This contained six sets of data:
the baseline, "with-plan", and four illustrative scenarios.
Our baseline and "with-plan" figures were supplied to
the Committee in the paper on the National Transport Model on
15 January. We have not undertaken the additional illustrative
scenarios, and, given other demands on the modelling team, are
not able to divert resources away from review work to provide
this information. However, if comparable tests are undertaken
as part of future review work then we would be happy to share
these with the Committee.
4. The second e-mail, on 27 January, sought
clarification on the levels of congestion estimated for 2000 from
the old and new models. As the Secretary of State's statement
to Parliament on 17 December made clear, traffic levels in 2000
were higher than previously thought at the time of the 10-Year
Plan. As the note submitted to the Committee on 15 January shows,
there is considerable variation in traffic (and congestion) across
the country. The new model estimates that for London, and in smaller
urban areas, 2000 congestion was higher than estimated in the
published 10-Year Plan. But for other areas and averaged across
the network, modelled congestion in 2000 was lower. The essential
issue is that our forecasts indicate that returning congestion
to 2000 levels is now more challenging than expected at the time
of the 10-Year Plan, for two reasons. First, our forecast of traffic
growth is greater than in July 2000, which in turn gives a higher
rate of congestion growth than previously forecast. Second, although
measures in the plan will deliver significant reductions in projected
levels of congestion, these may not be sufficient to secure a
return to 2000 levels, as we now estimate them to have been.
5. Finally, you should note that, further
to the paper we supplied to the Committee on 15 January, we have
put a slightly expanded paper on the new National Transport model
onto the Departmental website. This contains the underlying forecasts
by mode consistent with the traffic and congestion figures published
in the 10-Year Plan Progress Report.
25 February 2003
1. The Committee sought information on the
Department for Transport's efforts to pursue untaxed and therefore
uninsured and unroadworthy vehicles. Dealing with unlicensed vehicles
is the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
(DVLA). It is tackling the problem of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)
evasion in a number of ways:
2. Police and traffic wardens report unlicensed
vehicles as part of their day to day duties. Last year DVLA received
some 2 million reports. These reports are processed at each of
DVLA's 40 Local Offices. This enforcement activity resulted in
799,800 offenders being brought to book in 2001-02, bringing in
£110 million to the Exchequer from fines, penalties and relicensing
3. In August 1997, the Agency launched its
wheelclamping scheme to clamp and impound unlicensed vehicles.
The scheme is undertaken by contractors, Vinci Park Services Ltd.
To date since the wheelclamping scheme was launched, over 108,000
unlicensed vehicles have been wheelclamped, and of these 55,000
have been disposed of by crushing, (almost 50% of vehicles wheelclamped
are left unclaimed). In addition the scheme has encouraged 607,000
motorists to voluntarily relicence their vehicles recovering some
4. In April 2001, Newham Borough Council
undertook a pilot scheme using DVLA's powers to clamp and impound
untaxed cars as agents of the Secretary of State. During the 12
month trial it wheelclamped over 2,000 vehicles, with over 1,000
vehicles released on payment of fees. Most of the remaining vehicles
were disposed of mainly by crushing. Newham found that by using
these powers wholeheartedly it saw a reduction in the evasion
rate locally from 20% to around 5%. It also saw the numbers of
abandoned vehicles in the borough drop by about 10%, which was
against the national trend.
5. The Secretary of State's announcement
on 10 April 2002 on Abandoned Vehicles empowered local authorities
to take on DVLA's wheelclamping powers to clamp and impound unlicensed
vehicles. Other Councils that have now taken on those powers are
Wandsworth, Croydon, Lewisham, Southend on Sea, Hastings, Middlesborough,
and Cleveland & Redcar. Discussions are on-going with a number
of other authorities. Empowering local authorities will help to
bring permanent clamping operations to parts of the country not
served by the current wheelclamping contract.
6. The proposals already announced to modernise
the vehicle registration and licensing system include proposals
to increase the level of enforcement of VED to underpin the modernisation
initiative. One element of this is increase the level of wheelclamping,
and set up permanent pounds in areas not currently served. These
would include Devon, Cornwall, Hampshire, Dorset, Sussex, Kent,
East Anglia, South Wales, North Wales, Lancashire and the North
of Scotland. Only by increasing the size of the current scheme,
and empowering local authorities will we have a truly national
scheme for wheelclamping VED evaders.
7. The announcement on Abandoned Cars on
10 April also proposed making information on registered keepers
available to local authorities using web-based technology by 2002-03.
The work was piloted by Camden and Hastings councils in September
2002. National roll-out began in October and is expected to be
complete by March 2004.
8. DVLA is involved in partnerships with
other public sector bodies in Operation Cubit. This is a cross-cutting
initiative originally devised with Kent Fire Brigade, Kent Police,
Kent County Council and the Borough Councils to target abandoned
and unlicensed vehicles. DVLA's involvement is to clamp, remove
and dispose of any vehicles targeted in the operations. Successful
operations have been undertaken in the Medway Towns, Swanley,
Dartford, Gravesham, Maidstone, Sittingbourne, Folkestone and
Thanet areas of the county. In addition, Cubit style operations
have been held in Hastings, Brighton, Cleveland, Liverpool, Basildon,
Stoke-on-Trent, Telford, Bexley, and Havering. Further Operations
9. In February 2001 DVLA undertook a trial
of a freephone hotline for members of the public to report apparently
unlicensed vehicles. The trial was in the Hertfordshire area.
Their Luton Local Office ran the trial and local campaigns in
the area advertised the availability of the service. The trial
proved to be successful and popular, and proposals are being formulated
to roll out the scheme nationally.
10. In 2001-02 29 VED publicity campaigns
were held in various parts of the country. The campaigns raised
the profile of DVLA's wheelclamping and ANPR systems throughout
the targeted areas and received extensive media publicity. During
this period almost 158,000 motorists heeded the warnings of the
publicity and voluntarily relicensed their vehicles, bringing
in £13.5 million, which would otherwise have been lost. In
that year 26,000 unlicensed vehicles were wheelclamped and of
these 12,000 were disposed of by crushing.
11. The DVLA's Automatic Number Plate Reader
(ANPR) system, which uses digital technology to detect unlicensed
vehicles, was launched on 11 October 2001. The system is portable
and can be deployed quickly on any type of road. It is type approved
by the Home Office and is used to target vehicles on the move.
Offenders are prosecuted on the basis of camera evidence. This
complements other schemes, which concentrate more on stationary
12. DVLA provides databases of unlicensed
vehicles (either national or regional) to police forces for use
on their ANPR systems. It also provides a database of vehicles
with no current keeper. 44 forces receive these databases. DVLA
is also involved in a trial with nine Police Force areas in support
of Project Laser, which is a scheme by ACPO to utilise ANPR equipment
to deny criminals the use of the roads. The Home Office is in
discussion with the Treasury on this.
13. The Vehicle Keepership Scheme is jointly
endorsed by Assistant Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and DVLA. The
scheme combines the reporting of registration offences with that
of VED offences and simplifies police procedures. Thirty six forces
are currently involved or have expressed an interest as part of
a phased roll out.
14. DVLA and Sussex Police are undertaking
a pilot, which will electronically identify unlicensed vehicles,
caught via police speed cameras and transmit information direct
to DVLA Local Office for enforcement action. If successful, the
scope for increasing VED enforcement is quite substantial.
15. DVLA is working with local authority
parking attendants to target unlicensed vehicles in council car
parks. Currently 140 local authorities are involved with over
35,500 unlicensed vehicles being reported. This initiative has
encouraged over 30% of those motorists to voluntarily relicence
their vehicles. DVLA is developing the scheme further to roll
it out nation wide.
16. A very successful Enforcement Conference
was hosted at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire on 23 October 2002.
This was the first of its kind and the delegates included ACPO
rank police officers, Chief Fire Officers and local authority
Directors. Its theme was "Working TogetherDriving
Down Vehicle Crime" and looked at initiatives to deal with
the problem of the motoring underclass, ie those that drive unlicensed,
uninsured and unroadworthy vehicles. The keynote address was given
by the Roads Minister, David Jamieson. Other speakers included
Professor Gloria Laycock of the Jill Dando Institute, and representatives
from the Dutch registration authority, police, Newham, and DVLA.
It looked at current initiatives, proposals for the future and
best practice. It was very well received by all delegates, and
plans are in hand for another conference in November this year.