HC Deb 28 May 1968 vol 765 cc1637-9


Amendment made: No. 208, in page 79, line 15, after ' (1)', insert: 'Subject to subsection (1A) of this section '.— [Mr. Swindler.]

Mr. Swingler

I beg to move Amendment No. 209, in page 79, line 38, at the end to insert: (1A) An operator's licence shall not authorise the use of any vehicle unless the place which is for the time being its operating centre—

  1. (a) is in the area of the licensing authority by whom the licence was granted; or
  2. (b) is outside that area and has not been the operating centre of that vehicle for a period of more than three months.
For the purposes of paragraph (b) of this subsection, two or more successive periods which are not separated from each other by an interval of at least three months shall be treated as a single period having a duration equal to the total duration of those periods.

This Amendment and Amendment No. 208 implement the undertaking which I gave in Committee that an operator moving existing authorised vehicles from one operating centre to a different centre would be allowed a period of three months' grace before being required to take any licensing action in respect of those vehicles. Amendment No. 209 achieves what is required in respect of vehicles. Amendment No. 222 to Clause 61 deals with the transport manager situation.

With the Amendments the position will be that vehicles moved to a different centre in the same traffic area where they are already licensed will continue to be authorised under their original licence. No change in the Bill is needed in this case. Vehicles moved to a different centre in another traffic area will benefit from the new subsection (1A), which will allow them to be authorised on their original licence for up to three months. If they are still at the new centre at the end of that time, they must be authorised on a licence in the new area.

The new subsection (1A) also provides that periods at an unlicensed centre which are not separated by at least three months are to be aggregated and count towards a single three-month allowance. This is to prevent a possible abuse by which an operator might run a permanent unlicensed base by claiming that all the vehicles were moved from there for one day every three months, thus breaking the continuity and entitling him to a fresh start.

On the basis of the discussion which we had in Committee and the way in which we have applied ourselves to meeting the point which hon. Members raised, I hope that the Amendment will commend itself to the House.

Mr. Gordon Campbell (Moray and Nairn)

We have moved to Part V of the Bill and particularly to quality licensing as opposed to quantity licensing. I make that distinction to remind hon. Members opposite that whereas we are opposed to quantity licensing we are not opposed to the system incorporated in this Part of the Bill.

It would be necessary for the Government at this time to produce a new system based on safety and maintenance, but what we are trying to do is to reduce inflexibility, red tape and bureaucracy wherever they appear in this Part of the Bill. We are, therefore, glad that the Government have tabled these Amendments and have carried out their undertaking given in Committee, particularly, to introduce this provision about the period of three months.

This will introduce flexibility and it will be regarded as an improvement by the industries affected—those which have to move vehicles from one licensing authority's area to another. I mention, in particular, the construction industry, which was very worried about the Bill as it was drafted. If they had had to take up contracts at short notice in distant parts of Britain from their operating centre, they would have been seriously retarded by having to go through the procedure of applying for an operator's licence, transport manager's licence, and so on.

We hope that the Government will introduce other Amendments which will make this Part of the Bill more flexible.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: No. 210, in page 80, line 15, leave out from 'therein' to 'is' in line 16 and insert:

  1. (a) has ceased to be used under the licence (otherwise than because of a fluctuation in business or because it is undergoing repair or maintenance); or
  2. (b) — [Mr. Swingler.]

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