§ Mr. Betts
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether safety will be the prime issue in determining the future of vehicle testing stations following his consultation paper;
(2) what criteria he will use to assess the various options for the future of vehicle testing stations contained in his consultation paper;
(3) how many responses he has had to his consultation paper on options for the future of vehicle testing stations; what types of organisation have responded; and what were their views;
(4) what other options he considered before issuing his consultation paper on the future of vehicle testing stations; and for what reasons they were rejected;
(5) what steps he took to (a) inform the general public about and (b) to circulate his consultation paper on options for the future of vehicle testing stations;
(6) when he expects to make an announcement on the future of vehicle testing stations following his consultation paper on options for the future.
§ Mr. Kenneth Carlisle
[holding answer 10 December 1992]: As part of the review of the Vehicle Inspectorate's framework document my right hon. Friend re-examined the scope for abolition, privatisation and contracting out. Abolition, and the privatisation of the agency's enforcement activities, were judged to be inappropriate. A public consultation paper was issued on 14 September 1992 and sought views from a range of motor transport, safety, staff and other interests. There was an accompanying press notice. There have been 55 responses from organisations and individuals representing motor transport industry, police, road safety, motoring, local authority, environmental, staff and other groups; my right hon. Friend and I have also received correspondence from 68 hon. and right hon. Members. Comments dealt with cost, road safety and staff issues, and the availability of testing services. A variety of views were expressed for and against each option.
My right hon. Friend is currently considering the responses and representations and will make an announcement in due course. Road safety remains a key Government objective; as the consultation paper makes clear, we are determined that the standard of vehicle testing under all options should be maintained and, where possible, improved.