HC Deb 11 July 2002 vol 388 cc1114-5W
Mr. Gareth Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to reduce numbers of untaxed cars on the road. [69174]

Mr. Jamieson

Detection of unlicensed vehicles on the public road is carried out by police and traffic wardens, who pass offence reports to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for enforcement action. Last year 800,000 offenders were brought to book, bringing in £110 million in fines, penalties and relicensing revenue.

This day to day enforcement activity is being supplemented by a number of other measures. Since 1997 a nationwide scheme has been operating to wheel clamp and impound unlicensed vehicles seen on the public road. Over 90,000 vehicles have been clamped since the scheme started. The scheme has been a success and we are investigating the possibility of expansion.

In addition, we significantly increased the number of joint DVLA/police campaigns against VED evaders last year and these are running at a record level. We also introduced mobile digital camera technology to detect unlicensed moving vehicles. This complements other activities which concentrate more on stationary vehicles.

DVLA is also working closely with other enforcement agencies in a pilot scheme to target both unlicensed and abandoned vehicles. Operation Cubit is a joint operation between DVLA, the police, fire service and local authorities which removes offending vehicles from the road immediately. It is proving to be very popular with members of the public with each vehicle being dealt with by the legislation which is appropriate to its condition.

Another pilot scheme recently proved the feasibility of local authorities using DVLA's powers to wheel clamp and impound unlicensed vehicles. This is now being rolled out to any local authorities that wish to join the scheme.

Mr. Gareth Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to require the DVLA to introduce(a) on-line and (b) telephone notification of untaxed cars. [69176]

Mr. Jamieson

DVLA currently accepts on-line notification of untaxed vehicles. Plans are also in hand to enhance the agency's website to make it even easier for customers to report untaxed vehicles on-line.

DVLA has also set up a trial telephone hotline notification scheme of untaxed vehicles in Hertfordshire. This started on 26 February 2002. The trial is being carefully monitored and if it proves a success, will be rolled out on a nationwide basis and will he given wide publicity.

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