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Minibuses: Licensing

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 22 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions he has had with his colleagues at the Department for Transport on the effect on schools’ extra-curricular activities of the way in which the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency interprets new licensing requirements in respect of minibus drivers; and if he will make a statement. (164477)

[holding answer 20 November 2007]: Following extended discussions with the Department for Transport and its agencies at both ministerial and official level, my Department published a policy statement in April 2006, “Licensing Incidental Drivers of the School Minibus”, which clarifies the existing law—there is no new requirement. It explains that school staff who are not contracted to drive the minibus are exempt from having to hold a D1 PCV licence and may drive the minibus on their car licence subject to other conditions of exemption being met. Such incidental drivers are commonly trained in conjunction with the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS), though it is also open for local authorities to arrange for their incidental drivers to take the D1 PCV route as good practice. Our policy also states:

“In the medium term, when a school replaces its minibus, it is likely to lose its exemption because newer minibuses tend to weigh more than 3.5 tonnes, and the Government has no plans to change the weight limit on the exemption. Therefore we advise schools to consider investing in D1 PCV training over the next few years, since the law will require it in the longer term, if or when they move to a heavier minibus.”