Letter from the Chairman to the Minister,
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
directivethe 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 fuelinto
the energy tax directive. These are acceptable to the UKthey
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 stageindeed 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
11 February 2003