HC Deb 27 January 1994 vol 236 cc328-9W
Mr. Beggs

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if owners of new cars requiring registration marks in Northern Ireland later this year will have the right to purchase all registration marks with the DAZ prefix; and what arrangements will be made for new car owners who do not wish to use that mark;

(2) what negotiations are taking place with commercial organisations about the use of the prefix DAZ in vehicle registration marks;

(3) what statutory provisions govern the withdrawal of motor vehicle registration marks from availability to the Northern Ireland public and offering these registration marks to the highest bidder.

Mr. Tim Smith

At present, there is no scheme in operation for the sale of registration marks in Northern Ireland and no arrangement could be made with any person or organisation for the use of any specific marks in issue by the Belfast local vehicle licensing office of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland. When CAZ is exhausted later this year, new vehicles registered at that office will be assigned registration marks from the DAZ series.

Each of the eight local vehicle licensing offices in Northern Ireland allocates registration marks within a different series. The owner of a new vehicle can register it at any local office and, in this way, exercise a degree of choice over the registration mark assigned to the vehicle. An owner wishing to avoid a registration mark in the DAZ series need only apply to another local office other than Belfast whilst DAZ marks are being issued by that office.

The first registration number which will be issued from this new series will be DAZ 1000. In 1985 the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, which was then responsible for the administration of vehicle registration, introduced a policy of withholding from issue the first 99 numbers in each new series. This was extended to the first 999 marks in 1989. These unissued marks would be available for sale to the public should a scheme for the sale of registration marks be introduced in Northern Ireland in the future.

Under the provisions of section 19 of the Vehicles (Excise) Act 1971 and regulation 10 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1973, the form of any registration mark issued to a vehicle being registered for the first time is a matter for the Secretary of State for Transport. There is no statutory obligation to assign any specific mark or to use any specific series of marks.