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293. Another area where Convention rights may potentially be engaged is in respect of the clause which would introduce provisions under which certain illegally operated public service vehicles could be detained. Clause 42, and Schedule 3 which it would give effect to, contain enabling powers under which a regime could be established to enable certain illegally operated public service vehicles to be detained, removed and disposed of. These powers, when exercised through the making of regulations, would create an enforcement regime which is similar to that already in place for illegally operated goods vehicles.
294. The powers will only be available where an authorised person has reason to believe that a public service vehicle adapted to carry more than eight passengers is being, or has been, used on a road in contravention of section 12(1) of the PPVA 1981. That section prohibits such a vehicle from being used on a road for the carriage of passengers for hire or reward except under an operator's licence granted under that Act. Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the Convention is potentially engaged to the extent that the operator (or owner, where different) of a public service vehicle may be deprived of his possessions under these powers.
295. It is in the public interest to ensure that public service vehicles used on the highway for the carriage of fare-paying passengers are properly licensed. Where people purport to provide a public service without meeting the legal requirements, it is appropriate for the state to have powers to take action against them in the interests of public safety. The regime proposed is proportionate to the potential dangers to public health arising from the use of unlicensed vehicles to provide local bus services.
296. To the extent that this power affects the civil rights of a bus operator by depriving him of, or restricting the use of, his possessions, Article 6 (right to a fair trial) is potentially engaged. Paragraph 9 of new Schedule 2A to the PPVA 1981, as would be inserted by Schedule 3 to the Bill, would require any regulations made under these powers to make provision for the owner of a detained vehicle to apply to the traffic commissioner for the return of the vehicle. Such regulations must also provide for a right of appeal to the Transport Tribunal against the determination of a traffic commissioner. A decision of the Transport Tribunal may be challenged on a point of law on appeal to the Court of Appeal.
297. All other provisions in the Bill are also judged by the Secretary of State to be compliant with the Convention. In particular, there are no provisions in this Bill whose effect would be to deprive a person of the right to peaceful enjoyment of their property (with the exception of the provisions relating to the detention of illegally operated vehicles which are described above). Where provisions in the Bill empower traffic commissioners to act in a way which might restrict the way in which bus operators can use their property, there are sound "public interest" reasons for the powers. Furthermore, in all such cases a right of appeal to the Transport Tribunal against decisions of traffic commissioners is provided, with a further right of appeal to the Court of Appeal on points of law. The Secretary of State is therefore satisfied that a person adversely affected by the exercise of these powers will have the right to a full and fair determination by an impartial tribunal.
298. The Bill does not transpose any European Directive, and so there are no Transposition Notes published alongside it.
299. The following provisions would come into force on enactment:
300. Clauses 50, 51, 115 and 116 would come into force two months after the Bill is enacted.
301. Any repeal would come into force in the same way as the provisions of the Bill to which the repeal relates.
302. Other provisions would come into force on such day or days as the Secretary of State, or the Welsh Ministers in the case of the provisions mentioned in clause 124(6), may by order made by statutory instrument appoint.
Existing Acts referred to in these Explanatory Notes
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