§ Mr. Alfred Morris
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library the letter sent on 14 December by Commissioner Stanley Clinton Davis to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, about his visit to Strasbourg; what reply is being sent; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
The categories of driver licensing proposed by the European Commission would mean a second test and tougher health standards for non-commercial minibus drivers. This would cause immense problems for community and voluntary organisations. The important groups they serve would suffer as a result.
The visit to Strasbourg at the invitation of United Kingdom community transport operators enabled me to discuss with MEPs of all parties and nationalities the best means of reconciling the key objectives of safety and mobility, particularly for the old and disabled. I advised Commissioner Clinton Davis of this. A copy of the correspondence has been placed in the Library.
The Government's position on this issue is clear. We want to support a modified directive. We want to maintain and enhance mobility for special needs and common interest groups. We want to maintain and enhance safety. We do not want additional driving and medical tests for non-commercial drivers of minibuses.