§ Sir Hector Monro
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the procedures to be introduced for the transfer or retention of cherished number plates for motor vehicles.
§ Mrs. Chalker
I have already taken steps to speed up the present arrangements. The long delays on inspections and transfers earlier this year have been halved.
The proposals in the consultation document issued last year were generally welcomed in principle. But a lot of details still need to be resolved. Consultation made clear that it was important to tidy up the central register of vehicles by including all vehicles in the country—whether or not they are currently licensed—to make clear what marks are actually in existence. I propose to start this later in the year, giving a longer period than the three months envisaged in the consultation document.
Nearly all the comments on the consultation paper welcomed the ideas for simplifying the arrangements for transferring marks, but some concern was expressed about the risks of abuse by a few unscrupulous individuals. I want to make certain that any new procedures are simple but secure. I am studying details of new procedures and propose to introduce them later this year.
Some interest was expressed in the reissue or sale of marks. Before reaching final decisions about this, we shall monitor the changes described above.