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Volume 281: debated on Wednesday 17 July 1996

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To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the licences issued by his Department; for what purpose they are issued; and what are the administrative costs involved for each. [37596]

[holding answer 16 july 1996]: The information requested on licences and their purposes is as follows. The administrative costs involved for each could not be assessed without incurring disproportionate cost.


  • Open General Export licences.
  • Open General Transhipment licence.
  • Individual Specific Export licence.
  • Temporary Export licence.
  • Open Individual export licence.
  • Transhipment licence.

Export licensing is imposed on certain goods for a variety of reasons including national security and international treaty obligations and commitments.


  • Import licences issued against quota.
  • Import licences issued for surveillance purposes.
  • Special import licenses for national provisions.
  • Open individual licences.

Import licensing controls are imposed to implement internationally agreed policies, designed to stabilise markets and generate free trade, to protect UK and EU industry, to protect health and safety, and to enforce international trade sanctions.


Authorisation of insurance companies, to maintain confidence in the market and protect policy holders.

Postal services

The Post Office has the exclusive statutory privilege of conveying all letters from one place to another in the UK except for the activities covered by the following "class" licences:

  • Time-sensitive/value mail (i.e. courier services: conditions published 1981)
  • Charities delivery of Christmas cards (conditions published 1981)
  • Document exchanges (conditions published 1982)
  • Delivery of mail between Government departments (conditions published 1983)

In addition, there is one company licence for delivery of brokers' material under specified conditions.


  • Broadcasting services (3 categories).
  • Fixed services (4 categories).
  • Hobby radio (5 categories).
  • Public mobile radio (2 categories).
  • Private mobile radio (2 categories).
  • Maritime radio (7 categories).
  • Paging (3 categories).
  • Programme making and special events (7 categories).
  • Satellite services (5 categories).
  • Local authority (emergency alarm) radio.
  • Long range alarms.
  • Radar gauges.
  • RF tagging, temporary use.
  • Testing and development.

The purpose of radiocommunications licensing is to manage the use of the UK civil radio spectrum.


  • Individual licence.
  • Class licence.

Telecommunications licences define the systems that can be run, the services that can be provided and the other systems to which the licensee can connect. The licences also contain conditions concerning the provision of services to the public, relations with other operators and service providers and the provision of information to the Secretary of State and the Director General of Telecommunications.

Oil and gas

  • Seaward production licence.
  • Seaward exploration licence.
  • Landward petroleum exploration and development licence.
  • Supplementary seismic survey licence.
  • Methane drainage licence.

The purpose of oil and gas licensing is to manage the exploitation of the UK's petroleum resources.