Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report

Letter from the Chairman to the Minister, Paul Boateng

  Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum of 29 September, which was considered by Sub-Committee A at its meeting on 22 October. The Sub-Committee decided to hold the document under scrutiny pending receipt of the Government's Regulatory Impact Assessment, which the Sub-Committee hope will arrive shortly. The Sub-Committee would like to be kept notified of the timetable for this proposal as it becomes apparent. The Sub-Committee also expects to be closely informed of negotiations on this proposal. When do you expect the proposal to go to Council? Can you also update the Sub-Committee on the progress on the framework directive on infrastructure charging?

4 November 2002

Letter from the Minister, John Healey to the Chairman

  Lord Brabazon of Tara wrote to Paul Boateng about this proposal on 4 November in reply to the Explanatory Memorandum which he submitted. I am replying as Minister responsible. I am sorry that you have not had an earlier reply.

  Lord Brabazon asked for a copy of the Government's Regulatory Impact Assessment, and for the Sub-Committee to be closely informed of negotiations on the proposal and on the progress on the framework directive on infrastructure charging.

  I wrote to Lord Radice last week with a Memorandum containing more details about the Government's views on this proposal, and specifically covering some of the issues which Subcommittee A wants to cover in its inquiry. Turning to the specific issues raised in Lord Brabazon's letter, on the diesel directive, there has only been one meeting at official level to discuss the proposal, at which nearly all delegations supported the UK's position of opposition, a number of them very strongly. As a result, the Danish Presidency concentrated its efforts on the directive on taxation of energy products. It incorporated some elements from the diesel directive—the idea of optional differential duty rates for diesel used by hauliers and private motorists, and a second increase in the minimum duty rate for diesel used as a road fuel—into the energy tax directive. These are acceptable to the UK—they would not require any changes to existing duty rates or structures. The energy products directive is on the agenda of the 18 February ECOFIN, for political agreement.

  Given the strength of opposition to the diesel duty proposal, it seems very unlikely that the Commission proposal will be agreed in anything like its current form, if at all. I therefore think that it is premature to prepare a Regulatory Impact Assessment at this stage—indeed the House of Commons Scrutiny Committee asked for it when the likely final shape of the directive emerges. I therefore hope that you will agree that it would not be appropriate to prepare one now.

  On transport infrastructure charging, the European Commission has not yet brought forward any proposals. The Government's position on this issue is as set out in my Memorandum to Lord Radice.

11 February 2003

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003