(2) if he will make a statement on recent changes to the legal and regulatory framework governing bus drivers’ working hours.
There are two sets of rules governing drivers’ hours in the UK. Many bus drivers operate under domestic drivers’ hours rules rather than the EU drivers’ hours rules. This is because buses on routes less than 50 kilometres are specifically exempted from the EU Regulations.
A new EU Regulation on drivers’ hours has recently been adopted by the EU institutions—it was published in the Official Journal in April 2006 and will, for the most part, come into force in April 2007. We expect to consult later this year on any necessary consequential amendments to existing UK legislation.
Although, during negotiation of the new EU Regulation, consideration was given to extending the scope to include buses on routes less than 50 kilometres, this change was not made.
We will keep under review the need to bring the domestic rules into line with the EU rules, but will not be in a position to consult on any such changes before the bulk of the new EU Regulation comes into force next year.